The Search for a Biodegradable Coffee Packaging Solution

In choosing our packaging we very much wanted to be as Eco-friendly as possible. After doing much research it became clear that there are currently no great solutions. Ideally we would like the bags to be recyclable, but this is not possible because of the composite nature of the bag design. In order to keep oxygen away from the packaged beans, a thin layer of plastic is bonded to the inside of the paper bag. The paper and the plastic can not be easily separated, so the bag can not be recycled.

The next best thing was for the coffee bags to decompose, including the label. Here we had more luck. We came across a coffee bag made in the USA that perports to biodegrade. These bags are made from Biotre Film that is composed of 60% (by weight) biodegradable materials made from renewable resources such as wood pulp. Based on tests performed by the manufacturer, biodegradation will take on average several months in a backyard composter. The remaining 40% (by weight) of the bag is PE from fossil fuels with an additive that is designed to make it breakdown over five to ten years, thus reducing its impact on the waste stream compared to standard PE.

We also made sure that we used a label that also biodegrades. Here it's about the glue being water soluable and the lack of a platic coating.