Coffee packaging and recycling: it’s a cyclical story of reuse and refuse, one that oftentimes winds up being more difficult than it appears. Out in the United Kingdom, a company called West Berkshire Roastery is leading the charge by producing unlabeled, digitally printed cans to sell their whole bean coffee. “It’s the future of coffee packaging,” says the company’s director, Alex Kinder.  The program offers universal domestic curbside recyclability across the UK, and boasts some eye-catching numbers on aluminum recycling efficiency and reuse.

We had to learn more, so we sat down with Alex Kinder digitally for this latest edition of Coffee Design on Sprudge.

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As told to Sprudge by West Berkshire Roastery Director Alex Kinder.

Hey Alex—thanks for speaking with us. Can you give us an overview of why you’re excited about this recyclable coffee packaging?

Absolutely—here’s why we’re excited about our recyclable coffee cans:

  • They’re accepted in all domestic curbside recycling collections in the UK.
  • Recycling aluminum uses 95% less energy than producing aluminum from raw material.
  • Aluminum cans contain an average of 73% recycled material.
  • They provide an air-tight and UV-free environment for our roasted coffee meaning your coffee stays much fresher and for longer.
  • Over 82% were recycled in the UK in 2021—that’s a higher recycling rate than paper.
  • Produced in UK and Europe, not shipped thousands of miles.
  • Perfect size to pop the beans straight in your bean hopper.

The UK as a nation consume around 104 million cups of coffee every day. With all that coffee comes a lot of waste in terms of packaging. To make conventional packaging more recyclable the plastic seal needs to be removed otherwise the package is not fully recyclable and will go to landfill.

Providing coffee beans in drinks cans can solve this problem. Drinks cans are the world’s most recycled object with over 80% recycled in the UK.

In addition, the coffee is kept fresher because it’s in an airtight container. This means it doesn’t let the air in so it doesn’t degrade and the coffee is 100% UV protected too. Some packaging can let in light.

The re-usable plastic cap is also recyclable and can be used again.

That’s really exciting. Who designed the packaging?

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We completed the basic ideas of the design in-house and passed this onto a professional designer who produced the correct format. From there we used a company called NOMOQ (no minimum order quantity), an innovative company that usually prints aluminum beverage cans!

west berkshire roastery 1

When did the new design launch?

This design debuted around one year ago and it has continued to be a success and talking point!

How long did the design process take?

In total the design process took 2-3 weeks.

What were some of the goals for the new look?

The main two goals of this design was to stand out from the usual packaging used for coffee but also more sustainable. The can is easily recyclable via the council kerbside collection and infinitely recyclable, whilst being plastic-free.

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Tell us about some of the details in the design.

The idea behind the can design is to capture our local brand history. The local county flag features a deer and oak tree as portrayed by Micheal Drayton’s poem—this design’s connection with the county dates from at least Micheal Drayton’s 1627 poem Battle of Agincourt, where he describes the men of Berkshire marching under the symbol of “a Stag, under an Oake that stood.”

The stag has twelve-point antlers (characteristic of “royal stag” red deer), a reference to the county’s title as the “Royal County of Berkshire.” The stag and oak together represent the county’s forestry and deer herds.

We hoped to capture this with our eye-catching can design!

What kind of materials are used in the new packaging?

100% aluminum beverage cans (infinitely recyclable)

Where is this available to purchase?

All are available to purchase from our online store.

Thank you!

Visit their official website and follow West Berkshire Roastery on Instagram.

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