We started our brand with the hope of encouraging as many people as possible to get out and enjoy the great outdoors, to experience nature and explore the world we live in - so, as you can imagine, we're pretty damn serious about protecting this little planet we call home and leading our business in a sustainable way.
We can't do everything we want to from the very beginning, it's quite difficult to do so as a self-funded small business in the UK, but we have big ambitions that we intend to follow through on and so this blog post is a promise to ourselves and to our customers that we will better ourselves and, in time, become something of a symbol to the coffee industry that we can all do better.
Let's talk packaging.
It's a shock when you realise how many of the items you buy every day still don't come in widely recyclable packaging. The coffee industry is awful for it, and it tends only to be the big guys that now offer the right kind of pouches, sleeves and bottles that won't be stuck in landfill for hundreds of thousands of years - so why is that? Well, we think it comes down to two things - the first is that they have the cash reserves to do so, biodegradable packaging costs the big bucks, and secondly they're under more scrutiny than your standard small or medium-sized business to make these kinds of changes.
So where does that leave us, a company that desperately wants to ensure we leave a positive mark on nature? It's all down to time, unfortunately. Right now we use a paper-based pouch that we screen print (a time-intensive process that's slightly better for the planet than traditional digital print) with eco-friendly inks, but to maintain the freshness of our coffee the pouch is lined with a thin layer of plastic that makes recyclability and awkward one.
It's a necessary phase we've had to undertake to get the business off the ground, but we're really excited to boast that it really is only a short phase. Our purchase of this type of packaging was exactly 1000 pouches, and we're well on our way to being able to purchase a fully biodegradable option. In a sense, the faster you buy our coffee, the quicker we can switch to eco-friendly packaging... What a sales incentive! 😄
It doesn't stop there, there are multiple steps before we reach our dream coffee pouches. Our next phase is biodegradable, this means when you bin our packets they will decompose in 2-5 years - it's better, but not perfect. Eventually, we want to move to fully compostable packaging, a game-changer for the food and drink industry. Instead of 2-5 years, compostable coffee pouches would decompose in less than 90 days, without affecting the freshness of our coffee. That's the dream, and with your support we hope to make it a very realistic one within the next year.
Wait, there's more!
Packaging is what we deem the most important goal for the next year to conquer, but there are far more elements to our business that we hope to make far more sustainable in the coming years. Ensuring the coffee pouches we produce leave no lasting damage to the planet is a big part of the puzzle, but the real definition to sustainability is leading a business that shifts the scale between give and take. It will take time, but we promise to analyse every part of how we do things, to better ourselves, and to ultimately lead change in our industry. That's the real outdoor grind.