Our Packaging & Sustainability
Update as of June 2021:
Decadent Decaf Coffee Co's 227g coffee bag packaging is now domestically recyclable.
We are very pleased to announce that going forward, our 227g bags are 100% domestically recyclable. The bag is made of just one PE material in its entirety, so this can be domestically recycled in your standard household recycling waste.
This has been the culmination of a lot of work on our part stretching back over 18 months and we've invested heavily (for our little company that is) to make it happen and bought at least two years of packaging to make the economies of scale work. We're really pleased with the result and we hope you like them too!
Why is most coffee packaging on the market not recyclable?
Decaf coffee is a fresh product and can degrade and stale much like any food or drink product, think bread, fruit, etc.
In order to do that, we freshly roast our coffee beans straight into the bag and seal it, so that it's stored in a protected non-porous environment allowing for you to receive freshly roasted decaf coffee.
This is where the metal-plastic laminate comes in. Oxygen is a killer of coffee freshness, so the environment needs to be completely non-porous.
There's also another factor at play: one-way valves.
When coffee is roasted, it emits gases for up to 72 hours.
If we packed the coffee in a bag and then sealed it up, it would explode because of the excess gas that builds up after roasting.
So, a coffee one-way valve is required to allow this excess gas to escape, but to ensure that no oxygen to come back in.
The combination of a one-way valve and the metal-plastic laminate make it very hard to recycle currently - and, much like supermarket wrapping etc, has to be put in the general refuse bin currently.
Unfortunately, this is the same for 99% of coffee brands right now - coffee bag packaging is not recyclable.
Why not use compostable/biodegrable packaging?
We get this question a lot...On paper, plastic-free compostable and biodegradable packaging sounds like the right way to go?
- Compostable and biodegradable technology has come on leaps and bounds, but it is still often not oxygen-proof/too porous to keep coffee fresh.
- To have fresh coffee, you need one-way valves, and getting a compostable valve is very difficult to achieve indeed.
- But, the biggest reason is that waste refuse companies find compostable and biodegradable packaging very hard to process.
You can't just put them in the ground and let them biodegrade.
You need to use industrial composting methods on a large industrial scale. As a result, more often than not, that "biodegradable" packaging you put in the brown bin will be removed by the refuse company and dumped in landfill. That's the reality.
So, for the time being, like most of the coffee industry, we're moving to recyclable material instead...