Why not use 100% plant-based plastic packaging?
Coffee packaging comprises multiple layers, one of which is a barrier against oxygen, which is coffee’s worst enemy. So far, no supplier has been able to produce a 100% plant-based plastic that keeps out oxygen. We therefore have no choice but to continue with fossil-based plastic in our packaging (the barrier is EVOH made from fossil-based plastic granules). We hope that advances will be made, so that we will soon be able to switch to 100% plant-based plastic.
Why use plant-based plastic in the packaging instead of recycled plastic?
In terms of a circular approach, it is always good to use materials that are already in the eco-cycle, such as recycled plastic. Plastics have different elasticity and barrier properties, and some plastics are now prohibited due to their toxicity. It is impossible to know which plastics are in recycled plastic, and so recycled plastic cannot be used in direct contact with food.
What is the plant-based plastic made from?
The plant-based plastic is produced in part from rapeseed and sunflower oils, but mainly from GMO-free sugarcane, from which the maximum amount of sugar and ethanol is extracted. What remains of the sugarcane is the fibrous residue bagasse, which is used as a natural energy source in place of gas or fossil fuels. Bagasse is also used as a natural fertiliser on fields, and surplus production is sold on.
How do I recycle my coffee packaging?
The packaging material should still be sorted as soft plastic in your recycling. Although the laminate is >70% plant-based material, it mimics the molecules in plastic, which means that it is not biodegradable. In addition, there is currently no structure in place in our society to properly deal with biodegradable plastic materials.