It’s no secret that the UK is a nation of coffee drinkers with the British Coffee Association estimating that around 104 million cups of it are consumed every day.
But with all that coffee comes a lot of waste in terms of packaging and discarded coffee grounds.
One business doing their bit to reduce this wastage is Manifesto Coffee in Perth.
Just last month the firm switched all of its coffee packaging to 200g drinks cans that can be fully recycled.
The idea for the switch came about following a frustration with the food and drink industry’s standard packaging from Manifesto Coffee’s director Alex MacIntyre.
“It’s been a project of almost a year, it’s taken us a long time to get these launched,” he said.
“It came about with us just not being happy with the eco credentials of coffee packaging and, in fact, packaging in general.
“You always see consumer objects, such as coffee, food, everything really, in packaging that says it’s 100% recyclable but also ‘not yet recycled’, which I find confusing because does it mean this particular object hasn’t been recycled but it is recyclable?
“That sort of ambiguity in labelling and information is what sort of annoyed us. With coffee packaging you have different elements on the bag, such as zips to reseal them, the valve to supposedly keep it fresh, and it will say the bag is 100% recyclable. But actually it doesn’t give all the information – you need to manually remove the zip and the valve from coffee packaging in order for it to be recycled, otherwise it just goes into waste anyway.”
Better for everyone
Taking a stand against ambiguous labelling and packaging that isn’t fully recyclable, Alex and his team decided to make the switch to offering up their coffee beans in drinks cans.
“We wanted better coffee packaging but we wanted it to be simple for people,” Alex continued.
“That led us to beverage cans, which are the world’s most recycled object – over 80% are recycled in the UK, 99% in Germany, 98% in Brazil. It’s a very good material.
“Also, 100% of a beverage can or tin can be broken down, smelted, reformed into another beverage can with zero waste.”
Despite the packaging changing, the coffee itself hasn’t changed and Manifesto Coffee is still offering up its popular roasts in this new format.
“Every type of coffee we do comes in these cans – ground, espresso, Aeropress, whole bean, filter etc. It keeps it fresher for longer as well – because it’s in an airtight container it doesn’t let any air in so it doesn’t degrade,” Alex adds.
Every aspect of the new packaging has been thought about, including the lid and the opening topper, and customers have been given the option to select a free, recyclable plastic cap to seal off any leftover beans or granules.
Alex said: “Beverage cans are not perfect for coffee and we needed to find a new way of opening it. We found an easy peel style topper, which is a bit more like what you get with a tin of nuts.
“We got our canning machine modified to be able to allow us to fit these ends on to cans, which was pretty difficult and took about six months in itself to get working.
“We also have a reusable plastic cap, which is an optional extra. The reusable plastic cap is also recyclable but the main idea about that is it’s reusable so hopefully people will order it once and just keep it and reuse it.
“Every aspect of the packaging is recyclable – we even print our labels on to good-quality recycled cardboard and we use a biodegradable adhesive strip on it, we cut the labels with a laser cutter so that they can be cut to size and there’s no waste.”
Prices vary depending on the coffee and start from £7.30 at manifesto.coffee/shop.