The trick to encouraging a more sustainable lifestyle goes beyond selling a product; it requires a thoughtful system that is mutually practised by consumers and businesses. This system has to be convenient enough — it may be slightly more inconvenient but it cannot be too much — for people to adopt and then create a habit out of it.
Foreword Coffee Roasters just launched our new coffee bags. Much thought has been put into the design of this bag to tell the stories of our brand while putting sustainability practices in place. The new coffee bag is made of black Kraft paper with PLA (polylactic acid) lining. Even the one-way gas valve for the coffee bag is made with PLA.
PLA is a polymer made from renewable resources such as cornstarch. Choosing to use renewable resources is our commitment to support innovation which reduces human impact on our Earth. Most PLA are industrially compostable; we are pleased that our coffee bags are certified home compostable by TÜV AUSTRIA.
What does the OK Compost HOME certification mean?
Composting is a natural process of breaking down organic materials into compost. The OK Compost HOME certification is developed to ensure biodegradability under specific conditions in a home compost. The certification process evaluates several attributes:
- Compost quality
- Chemical characteristics
Biodegradation and disintegration tests were carried out at ambient temperatures between 20°C and 30°C. Maximum duration of the biodegradation and disintegration tests are 12 months and 6 months respectively. Within this time, the product must be 90% biodegraded or disintegrated. The compost goes through an ecotoxicity test to ensure that the quality does not decline as a result of the added packaging material during composting. The standard also sets limits for volatile matter, heavy metals, and fluorine.
Coffee beans are kept fresh with this one-way gas valve which is also made of PLA.
Being home compostable certified is important because while many products claim to be compostable, they may only be compostable in industrial conditions. These products will not have any significant changes when you throw them into your home compost bin because the specific conditions for composting to take place are not met. Such industrially compostable products, if not disposed properly, continue to last in our environment for a very long time.
Foreword’s Return and Reuse Initiative for Coffee Bags
To encourage consumers to reuse our coffee bags, we are implementing a Return and Reuse initiative. Our customers may drop off their used, empty coffee bags at our cafes and we will reuse these bags for their next coffee beans purchase. To sweeten the deal, we will be giving a small discount to our customers who adopt this habit of returning and reusing their coffee bags.
At the end of the coffee bag’s shelf life, customers can choose to compost the bags themselves, or return to us to deal with the composting. At this time of writing, we have entrusted 3 friends with home composting capabilities to help us test the compostability of our coffee bags. Updates will be shared on our social media!
Sustainability is a necessary hassle
Leading a more sustainable lifestyle requires effort to create a new habit. The mindset shift can come from businesses to nudge consumers towards adopting more environmentally conscious practices. A participatory approach is important for us to gather feedback from our customers on their journey to sustainability and for us to improve this experience for them.