Good Coffee and Good Practices; Don’t Bite the Hand That Feeds

March 28, 2017 Uncategorized

It’s been a longstanding concern of mine to make Hart Coffee have as little of a carbon footprint as possible. To this point, our strides have been relatively modest and primarily in the realm of packaging.

Going forward, we plan to begin using solar panels to power the roaster as well as on our upcoming pop up shop (yes, of course on a radio flyer). We also have aspirations of becoming a ZERO WASTE facility, starting with a pledge to reach a marker of 85% waste free by the end of the year.

We currently use compostable paper bags lined with a plant based (PLA) liner made of a light film of the sugars in corn starch. Also, we recently switched to compostable labels rather than our previous use of recyclable stickers. The idea here being that you, the consumer, can now simply pull the tin tie off the bag and throw it all into a compost bin; which according to our supplier’s claims, should be completely composted within a month.

Easy peasy.

The reason why we use these bags, despite the shorted shelf life of our product (buy less coffee, more often!), is that packaging typically accounts for one of the primary sources of non-accountable waste in coffee roasting operations. This means that the waste doesn’t occur on site, rather it occurs in your garbage bin at your home.

To put the enormous amount of coffee bag waste into perspective, think of the amount of bagged coffee at your local Starbucks store. Each store has, let’s say 50-1lb bags of coffee per week. Each of those bags, once empty, will take up the space of about 1 inch cubed (depending on level of compaction, this number is +/-).

50 bags = 50 inches cubed of waste

52 weeks in a year = 2,600 inches cubed (or 216.667 feet cubed) of waste per store, per year

Taking this exercise global and between the (more than) 24,000 stores globally, Starbucks generates 100,000 feet cubed of bag waste PER WEEK and a mind-blowing 5,200,000 feet cubed of bag waste EVERY YEAR.

In 7 years, you have enough matter to fill the Empire State Building with trash that will endure on the planet for millions of years.

Picking on Starbucks is perhaps uncool as they’re definitely an easy target; but they own the largest portion of the coffee market share at about 39.8%, so they produce the most waste.

However, it is not Starbucks alone in using high barrier bags to “seal in freshness”, they are widely used in the industry and provide the ability for companies to write off less product on the waste sheet at the end of each week.

This all said, I did not write this post as a means to bash potential competitors or to try to effectively say that I’m better than them because I’m not: I still have yet to find the funds necessary to purchase a catalytic oxidizer or afterburner for my roaster, so I produce a good amount of CO2. I also sill run off the power grid (which thankfully here in Seattle is produced primarily from clean, hydroelectric sources).

The purpose of this post is to merely say that, as a company, Hart Coffee is doing its absolute best to do our part to help the very environment responsible for growing the coffee that provides us with a business in the first place.

Furthermore, I hope that our outreach, which I believe will grow substantially this year, will allow for the infrastructure needed for individuals and companies using Hart Coffee for their daily caffeine needs to also easily “do their part” without financial burden to them.

I’ve set lofty goals, I know, but with your continued patronage WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE TOGETHER.

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