Over the last year, the question you’ve asked us more than any other is ‘are your coffee bags recyclable’, and our answer has always had to be a slightly awkward, ‘not at a consumer level, no, but we’re working on it’.
This is still the case (and we are working on it, we promise!), but the second half of our answer usually also links people through to one of James’ blog posts, which details a pilot bag recycling program we started for our local wholesale customers.
That post was written way back in July 2016, so we thought it high time we updated you on how the scheme has progressed.
We’re happy to say that the program has been, and continues to be, a huge success – we’ve recycled well over 40,000 triple-ply, foil-lined bags to date, and continue to collect bags (from any roaster, so long as they are the right material) from wholesale accounts on our local London delivery routes.
We’ve been able to do this by working with Enval – a specialist recycling company based in Huntingdon. There, through a process called microwave induced pyrolysis, the constituent parts of the bags (plastic and aluminium foil) are separated and processed, ready to be resold and reused.
This is excellent news, but of course, we’re still acutely aware that this scheme has its limits. Bags have to get to us here to allow them to be recycled, for example, and that’s not easy or economical for everybody, especially not individuals. That’s why we’re continuing to work on a more permanent solution (and look out for more information on this soon).
In the meantime though, we want to stress that our bag recycling scheme – as a project that we believe in – is open to all. If you can find a way to get your used triple-ply foil-lined bags to us (such as by post or by hand), we’ll add them to our regular deliveries to Enval and cover the cost of getting them recycled.
If you’re not sure if the coffee bags you have are the right material, just scratch away at the outside of one with a sharp knife. If you can separate the exterior plastic wrap from the central foil layer (as in the image below), that’s a triple-ply bag.