October 08, 2020

Have you ever wondered what to do with your used coffee bags?

Buying coffee most often means purchasing packaging along with your delicious beans. Before we can think of ways to recycle or upcycle our coffee bags, let’s look at what they are made of and why they are made in this way.

This packaging of coffee needs to have the ability to be airtight in order to keep your beans as fresh as possible. We use a heat sealer to completely close the bags to ensure this is the case. The coffee bags have a degassing valve so as to release the carbon dioxide, which is a by-product of roasted coffee beans. You’ll see this as a small round insert sitting on the back of a Black Velvet Coffee bag. If this valve was not included in a heat sealed bag, you’d end up with a bag of coffee puffed up like a balloon!  

The other issue to packaging coffee is that the beans are very susceptible to outside sources. For example, if you have an unsealed bag of coffee sitting with a bag of bananas, you’ll be tasting your brew along with a distinct fruity flavour! I remember in the early days, a customer was very confused as to the strange, unusual taste of her coffee. We were confused too until we found her open bag of coffee sitting in the fridge, soaking up the delightful aroma of leftover chicken curry!  So how do we combat this? The coffee bags need to be made of a product that can act as a barrier between the coffee and outside sources, such as aluminium. We also choose to use bags that are black in colour, not only to fit with our brand but also to ensure that light cannot affect our beautifully roasted beans.  

Unfortunately this means that most coffee bags are unable to be recycled. So how do we combat this waste? Pre-COVID, Black Velvet Coffee offered a service where a customer can bring their original bag or a coffee canister to our retail store in the Melbourne CBD, Black Velvet Espresso and it can be refilled. Of course, this is not an available service in the current environment but we look forward to reinstating the service very shortly. In the meantime, we need to find ways to recycle our bags.

One great idea is to use them in place of plant pots. If you’ve got a green thumb and enjoy spending time in the garden then why not reuse your take away coffee bags for your seedlings?

Simply pierce the bottom of the bag with a few holes, fill with soil and plant your favourite seedlings. A standard 250g coffee bag holds almost the same amount of soil as a small to medium sized plant pot. Not only will you save some money but after your plants have grown enough to be planted in your garden, the bag can be reused again and again.

It’s also worth remembering that your used coffee grounds can be a wonderful fertiliser for your soil. Simply work the grounds through the soil around your plants to help make your garden happy.

Please let us know of any other ways you are recycling your coffee bags. We’d love to be able to share the knowledge to others.

We wish you a wonderful day.



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