Coffee Is Social™


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Right now our coffee bags are not recyclable. Over the years we’ve experimented with a number upcycling projects, and are always on the lookout for creative ways to use our high barrier coffee bags. Not having a recyclable bag is certainly not from lack of effort – we’re always on the hunt for suitable, sustainable coffee packaging.

Our team keeps close tabs on developments in the field of sustainable packaging with the intent to adopt suitable, sustainable coffee packaging as soon as it’s commercially available.


Oxygen speeds up coffee degradation, so it’s important to properly store coffee beans once they are freshly roasted. We and countless other roasters use high barrier bags to package coffee that currently cannot be recycled. High barrier bags include a valve that lets off-gas nitrogen out and keeps oxygen from getting in. The coffee bean is the seed of a fruit – and, as is the case with fruit – it can spoil quickly unless it’s preserved and stored properly.

We’ve continued to research cellulose-based bags that biodegrade after use. This technology is becoming more widely available and we are optimistic that this might be an area where we find a viable solution. Our testing has shown that the product does not break down effectively unless it’s put through an intensive industrial composting process. And in many municipalities industrial composting is not easy to access, or even available.

We have also uncovered that many bio-plastic are corn-based which the manufacturer cannot guarantee originates from non-genetically modified corn crops. Salt Spring Coffee maintains that genetically modified foods have no place in modern agriculture, therefore we can’t support this product without being sure the entire manufacturing/production process is free of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

We’ve also experimented with coffee tins and have found that a tin does not provide a net environmental benefit unless the consumer reuses the tin hundreds of times over. The lifecycle of a tin – from the mining, processing and transport – is in the end, much more energy intensive than a high barrier coffee bag, so we sidelined the tin idea. Though technically reusable and recyclable, it’s just not the right sustainable option for us.

If you’d like clarification on a particular item outlined here, or if you have an upcycling idea for our coffee bags please contact us.

Salt Spring Coffee | Believe in Being Better™
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