Coffee Culture’s Eco-Friendly Strategy: Disrupting Ireland’s Cafe Scene with Green Solutions
At Coffee Culture, we pride ourselves on pioneering the change in the coffee industry. Innovation has been embedded in Coffee Culture’s philosophy and origins. As the first, we introduced a structured coffee education in 2009, bringing two training centres to the Irish scene (Birdhill and Dublin).
Since its birth, the programme has offered a wide range of training and free practice sessions to experienced and aspiring baristas and café owners. Opening the Old Barracks Roastery in Birdhill has presented us with a unique opportunity to revise and improve our own ways of tackling non-recyclable waste. We have found a way to disrupt the typical coffee packaging option and are launching innovative packaging, SuperGrainbags by GrainProp, for our roasted wholesale coffee for cafes.
Cafes around the world use foil-lined bags, which coffee devotees can often spot on the shelves of a nearby coffee house. Millions of these non-recyclable bags end up in the general waste each year. To help reduce the waste, we have decided to introduce ziplock SuperGrainbags® from GrainPro. These bags hold up to 70 kilograms of coffee beans and have multiple uses.
In the industry, they mostly store pre-roasted coffee. However, we want to push that further by using GrainPro bags for roasted beans. We will now deliver smaller 5-kg versions of roasted coffee to our partnered cafes across the country. Those bags guarantee the great aroma, colour and freshness of coffee beans regardless of how many times you would have to open the bag.
Bag Loyalty Programme
For all new customers of The Old Barracks Roastery and existing customers of Coffee Culture, we will now be packing coffee in 5 kg GrainPro plastic recyclable bags. We know plastic is not the best option, but it is the first step any wholesale coffee supplier has made in Ireland and probably Europe to deliver their coffee in this way.
Our plan is to replace fifteen 1 kg foil-lined bags with one recyclable SuperGrainbag. As a bonus, when the café has collected 20 bags, we’ll collect them for free, offering a cafe €20 for the 20 bags returned.
Going Green All The Way
Our eco-friendly approach applies to every aspect of our life as we want our community to benefit from our work both locally and nationally. Coffee chaff (dried coffee skin) adds a lot of great nutrients to a compost, making soil rich. Coffee grounds also have many uses in gardening, from fertiliser to pests repellent.
The Old Barracks Roastery donates both to local community gardens to help create a healthy environment for our neighbourhood. And this approach is shared by many of our partners such Elm Café in Ennis, which provides its coffee grounds to a local garden centre’s nurseries. We work with Down2Earth, an award-winning specialist supplier of certified compostable foodservice packaging, to create our own coffee cups. All packaging supplies we use are made of recycled cardboard.
Biodegradable Versus Compostable
All compostable bags are biodegradable. But not all biodegradable bags are compostable. We often see product labels which highlight biodegradable or compostable materials used to produce an item you hold in your hand. Although these two descriptions seem to be used interchangeably, they do not mean the same thing. According to Down2Earth’s website:
– Compostable Products break down into CO2, water, inorganic compounds and biomass within 9 to 12 weeks on average.
– Biodegradable Products refer to the fact that all the products will eventually break down over a period of time. It’s the time window that makes it a bit tricky as it may take from a few months to thousands of years.
As a society, we are becoming more aware of the negative implications of using non-recyclable materials. According to Conscious Cup Campaign, there are over 200 million non-recyclable cups used annually in Ireland alone. That is just the tip of an iceberg, considering other items and utilities we use in the coffee supply chain. With innovations such as SuperGrainbags, we believe we are one step closer to reducing general waste and making zero waste a reality. Find out more about our Zero Waste programme here.
Coffee Culture is about much more than roasting exceptional coffee. We believe in building open and honest relationships with the best cafés in Ireland, who share our values and passion for coffee. It’s in our nature to share information openly and proactively with those who have a thirst for excellence.
We serve and support cafés, so that together, we can satisfy, delight and nourish our customers.