On the way to sustainable coffee packaging

Working Group on Sustainable Packaging of the Coffee Association in expert exchange with Grüner Punkt.

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As a highly complex product, coffee wants to be packaged correctly, but also attractively, regardless of whether it is sold as a bean or ground. The aroma must be preserved, if possible even when the packaging is opened but not immediately emptied, but gentle degassing is also important. After roasting, the beans emit carbon dioxide (CO2), which affects the taste and must be removed. In addition, there are consumer and political requirements to design packaging in a recycling-friendly way.


Accordingly, the Sustainable Packaging Working Group of the German Coffee Association took the conversation with Green Dot expert Andreas Kappel, who presented the possibilities of recycling-friendly packaging design, also called Design for Recycling, and the measurement of recyclability, very seriously.


"Especially in such a sensitive product segment as coffee, sustainability is the special challenge. On the one hand, it is important to maintain the product quality and, at the same time, for the packaging to use as few resources as possible and be recycling-friendly. There is no silver bullet. What is clear is that packaging made of only one material can be more recyclable than a composite," says Andreas Kappel.


In the subsequent practical check at GAR's sorting facility for lightweight packaging in Bassum near Bremen, the working group members learned a lot about the behaviour of coffee packaging. Branch manager Jens Blume explained how often coffee packaging is found in the input, at which points in the plant the packaging components are sorted out and what the overall result of the sorting processes looks like before it is sent for recycling. This is important information that the Coffee Association's Sustainable Packaging Working Group brings to its member companies.


Green Dot expressly welcomes cooperation with associations as an important way of jointly tackling the challenges of the future.


An information page on sustainable coffee packaging is available here https://www.gruener-punkt.de/en/sustainable-coffee-packaging

All photos © Der Grüne Punkt/Hansjörg Nieß.