Sustainability in Coffee
A lot of words get thrown around when it comes to coffee and it's impact. Fair trade, organic, green, sustainable, the list goes on but these terms don't always have the clearest lines to trace them back to the source. And then there's what importers and roasters do with the green coffee beans. The coffee industry is multi-layered and this adds levels of confusion for consumers.
We've always known where our coffees come from. The importers we work with have been chosen by us because of their involvement with the farms they trade with. In coffee, knowledge is crucial - the more we know about the farms the better we can judge if we're putting our money in the right channels.
With roasting and sending coffee out, we've made economical choices early on that were not the most environmentally friendly - mainly choosing single use plastic bags for the bulk orders we send out to customers. Our new move decreases how much we waste, and it also removes the burden on our customers as well. We're moving towards becoming more environmentally focused as a business.
What We've Done
A few weeks ago we launched our Reusable Coffee Containers for our widest customer base - our local Edinburgh businesses. Instead of packing loads of kilos into single-use plastic bags, we pack up to 6 kilos into our new containers that can be reused again and again. We've cut down nearly two-thirds of our weekly plastic waste this way!
We're really excited about this change, and hope to develop it further to include a wider variety of what we can pack in reusable containers. As we expand into other areas, we hope to bring our containers with us (we're looking at you Glasgow).
What Our Customers Say
Overall, our new system has been well received.
Ruben of the vegan / vegetarian restaurant David Bann says:
'We aim to reduce our carbon foot print wherever possible. With the amount of zero waste options growing I think it is important to move along with the 'trends' even if they take an extra small effort. When I do my shopping I take my own bags, containers and bottles to carry all my fruit and veggies, dry store needs, cleaning products/toiletries, etc. and I do not do it for my own convenience but for my ethos and my children. It is very important to me to set an example for them. So all in all it is great initiative and I'm happy to see businesses getting on board with more environmentally friendly attitudes.'
Mal of Honeycomb & Co says:
'I am pleased that Machina have changed their packaging, I definitely think that the tubs are a good idea! I am pleased that we at Honeycomb & Co can work more environmentally friendly with this move to tubs! [They] may take some getting used to but it's obviously worth doing to save using bags!'
Of course, there's always room for improvement. We think of this as a first step towards becoming more environmentally friendly as a business. In future, we hope to replace our current retail bags with ones made from 100% biodegradable materials as well as create a system to allow for local customers to bring in refillable containers for their coffee beans.
Written by Jess Browning