There can be a lot of waste in the transport of coffee. From packing and shipping materials to the coffee packaging itself, there are many layers, some of them at least recyclable, required to safely ship coffee from one place to another. But now Cafe Imports is making one of those components a little more eco-friendly. For all green coffee samples coming out of their Minneapolis, Minnesota warehouse, Cafe Imports will be shipping them in 100% compostable bags.
Announced earlier this month via Instagram, Cafe Imports have been working on a compostable sample bag behind the scenes for several years. Sam Miller, CI’s Director of Marketing & Green Buying, tells Sprudge that finding the right bag required threading a specific needle. They needed a bag that was sturdy enough to limit the amount of moisture and other environs from finding their way in, all the while still being able to decompose completely, not just degrade into micro-plastics, which Miller refers to as an “out of sight, out of mind” solution. After moisture testing multiple samples, Cafe Imports ultimately landed on a starch-based bioplastic bag from Grounded Packaging.
The entirety of the bag is 100% compostable, with everything except the zipper being certified as home compostable by OK Compost, BPI, and ABA Home Compost, the gold standard certifications in the Eurozone, US, and Australia and New Zealand, respectively. This means the bags will completely compost within 12 months—and 90% in 90-120 days—inside a home compost heap, which can have a wider variance in conditions compared to those of industrial compost processing facilities. The zipper is rated for commercial compost due to its thickness, but Miller states that “presumably they would still do it, but would take longer” in the home compost.
“Making the decision to transition to compostable sample bags actually came from our Melbourne team,” Miller tells Sprudge. “They’ve been true advocates and leaders for the rest of our teams when it comes to sustainability in action and have been using locally-sourced compostable sample bags for both roasted and green samples for over five years now.” Miller adds, “The fact that one of our three core values at Cafe Imports is to ‘decrease our impact on the earth’ has directly resulted in our staff truly caring, and embracing this, and coming up with their own ideas as to how to support this. These new sample bags are just one of these staff-driven initiatives towards more sustainable thinking and environmental accountability that can come from a community of people that really care.”
Because the bags have a 12-month shelf life, Miller states that they aren’t yet viable options for shipping full 60kg bags of green coffee. So Cafe Imports will be sticking with GrainPro bags for the time being. Nonetheless, “as soon as a better option becomes available,” Miller states, “we’ll be here for it.”