Trash Hacker: Foil Coffee Bags

Getting my java fix – photo by Liesl Clark

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!

Coffee bag vase – photo by Liesl Clark

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.

Other great DIY projects include an easy-to-craft purse and a make-it-in-about-30-minutes wallet.

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.

Click Through For Coffee Bag Reuses at Trash Backwards!

Click Through For Coffee Bag Reuses at Trash Backwards!

After all this coffee talk, I think it’s time to brew up some java.

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Categories: Best of Trash Backwards, DIY, Reduce Your Use, Repurpose and Reuse, Trash Hacker, Trash Pile - All Our Stuff, Upcycle


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4 Comments on “Trash Hacker: Foil Coffee Bags”

  1. Bonnie
    August 4, 2014 at 9:19 am #

    Am looking for a way to recycle coffee bags and was intrigued about your Trashe Bags company in Montrose, CO, as that’s where I reside. But when I clicked on your link, there was no website to go to—and no information on the company can be found online. So here’s another solution: is another company that takes coffee-bag waste and makes products out of it. The website has a lot of info and looks easy to negotiate.

    Thanks for trying to point those of us who are consummate recyclers in the right direction!

    • August 6, 2014 at 5:27 pm #

      Thanks, Bonnie! It looks as if Trashe Bags is no longer in business, sadly. We sure do know about Terracycle, a pioneer in using consumer packaging for one more life – They’ve always done a great job of getting the word out about their business on their own, so we let them do that – We’ve noticed that their collection boxes change location so frequently over time that we prefer to let them keep doing what they do so well.

  2. Karen L Angelichio
    August 21, 2016 at 1:01 pm #

    I save my empty supermarket foil lined coffee bags and use them to collect cooking grease. They withstand the hot temperatures right from the stove, don’t leak, keep the odors in, self close, and hold a lot. Saves money on street bought waste containers and clogged drains and prevents grease polluting the environment. Since I drink a lot of coffee I share my surplus bags with non coffee drinkers to use them the same way.


  1. 25 Uses For Your Coffee Grounds | Trash Backwards - March 22, 2013

    […] if you have coffee bags to deal with, we’ve got reuses for them, too! Come visit our Trash Backwards app for great […]

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