When I first started roasting and selling coffee, I was appalled thinking of the amount of waste I would be producing with all those consumer coffee bags. I solved this by selling my coffee in mason jars. A one litre jar held roughly 340g of beans. Customers could return the jars which would then be sanitized and reused. Perfect.
Except that doesn’t work now – try shipping glass. Fortunately, progress has been made in the packaging industry.
The bag that holds your coffee is omnidegradable, meaning it will degrade completely into organic nutrients with no harmful by-products when – and only when - it comes into contact with microbes – microbes that are present in landfills, fresh and salt water and regular soil. A blend of organic compounds is used in the bags, which, in the presence of microbes, create an enzyme that breaks down the long-chain molecules of the plastic. This allows the microbes to then consume the plastic.
The short story, in a backyard compost the bag will end up as CO2, water and a small amount of organic biomass.
The bags cost almost twice as much as other bags, but in the end, I think we’re all worth it.