There are a lot of accessories that come with a smooth cup of coffee, and many are, once you’re done with them, quickly trashed. But that only applies to coffee-on-the-go, a truly American ritual. Yet even coffee savored at home has its landfill peril: the bag that our beans, ground or whole, come in.
Coffee bags come in 4 common forms: paper, paper with plastic lining, plastic, and plastic with foil lining. This isn’t going to be a review of the greenest coffee bag, or a dissertation on what to do with each type of bag. Today, we’d like to talk about paper coffee bags, foil-lined bags, and how to reduce your use of coffee bags in general.
Reducing the number of bags you use is simple, and doesn’t require curbing the caffeine habit: Buy your coffee in bulk. Many supermarkets now provide bulk coffee beans, which can be ground right there for convenience. Bring your empty coffee bag from home with you the next time you buy coffee beans and refill it. If your tastes go beyond the selections at the store, or if bulk isn’t an option, check out the beans used in your favorite cafe. Chances are the cafe will sell you beans in bulk. Or buy directly from your favorite roaster and order bulk bags to store in a cool, dry, and dark spot.
Paper coffee bags can be recycled or composted. Be sure to rip off the top wire fastener for reuse as a chip bag fastener. But what about the foil-lined coffee bags? After much research, we’ve uncovered some great options for your foil-lined bags.
Trashe Bags is a company based in Montrose, Colorado that will turn your foil-lined bag into a beautiful tote bag to be reused over and over again. They’ll even pay you for your bags and cover your shipping. This forward-thinking company also repurposes plastic woven pet food bags, and they provide jobs for people with disabilities.
But before you send off your foil-lined bags, take a good look at them. Is there one that has a beautiful design? This plastic-foil combo can be turned into a simple vase!
Here are the 3 easy steps!
1) Cut off the top of the bag wherever you like, making it deep enough to hold a few flowers.
2) Add water.
3) Add flowers. If you find the bag not sturdy enough to hold the flowers and water (if the flowers are top-heavy) just put them in a small jar inside the bag.
This upcycled decor would work beautifully in a small cafe as well as on your home table.
If you have other DIY projects or recycling options for coffee bags, please let us know and we’ll include them in our Trash Backwards app. Visit our app and you’ll see more ideas for reducing and reusing coffee bags.
After all this coffee talk, I think it’s time to brew up some java.