Despite sustainability in general being at the forefront of so many coffee companies’ marketing pitches, there have persisted some dirty little non-recyclable, non-biodegradable and non-compostable secrets that quietly slip under the company line and into the waste stream.
Two of the biggest offenders are plastic-film-lined to-go cups and plastic-lined coffee bags with plastic one-way degassing valves. Players in the packaging industry — who have been engaged in something of a green race ever since we all collectively decided plastic was generally bad stuff — have responded to this problem with thousands of hours of R&D and product ingenuity. Yet to this point, only one has broken through to create a fully compostable bag that includes a degassing valve.
Excuse the oxymoron, but the eco-minded packaging company Elevate Packaging earlier this month launched a fully compostable, valved, 1-pound bag, which is currently available only in shiny silver. The company says the bioplastic film used for the bags is Certified Home Compostable (EN13432), and that the bags have received the OK Compost seal from third-party certifier Vincotte, which requires meeting the European biodegradability standards ASTM D6868 and EN13432.
“The bags have been engineered and tested with leading roasters’ cupping tests to prove that they perform on par to conventional high-barrier metalized film pouches,” Elevate said in the announcement of the new product, options for which include coming with or without a valve.
For now, the company is recommending pairing the bags with its fully compostable label products, and it says custom-size and custom-printed bags will be available later this fall. The fully compostable no-valve 1-pound bag is currently selling for $365 per 500 count, plus tax and shipping, while the fully compostable valve option is selling for $490.