Sustainable Packaging

Kaveri Coffee commitment to sustainable packaging, composting vs recycling explained

Our inspired new look…

Kaveri Coffee products are made with love and intention. We are intentional with our commitment to environmental sustainability, promoting conscious consumerism, sharing our coffee heritage and delivering a unique coffee experience. We are always learning, seeking new information and making choices that help us grow as a company intune with the needs of the world that we live in.  

When we made the decision to change our coffee packaging, we went from compostable kraft paper bags to #4 Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE) recyclable bags. We received an overwhelming positive feedback on the new look and feel of the bags. However, we feel the need to explain our decision to steer away from our intention to be plastic-free. At first glance it does not seem like an environmentally sound choice, BUT we did not take this decision lightly. 

The coffee bag and small business challenge

Running a small business that wants to make a noticeable impact and be profitable comes with its own set of challenges. From the beginning, we have deliberated quite a bit on our packaging choices from a cost, function, sustainability, and design perspective. As our business grew, we wanted to create a strong brand identity that spoke to the unique story of Kaveri Coffee and our cultural roots. We wanted our coffee bags to be our mascot and be attractive enough to stand out among the numerous other coffee brands on a grocery store shelf. The best way to achieve this was with custom printed bags. However, custom printing requires a minimum quantity of 10,000 bags which may take us a good 3-4 years to go through. While bags like our erstwhile earthy looking compostable paper bags can be custom printed, they start biodegrading naturally after about 6 months. These compostable bags also limit the shelf life of the coffee once in use as they are unable to maintain the same amount of freshness as other multi-layered bags made with plastic materials. The packaging industry still has a long way to go in providing a truly eco-friendly coffee bag that meets our current consumer needs and trends. 

Composting vs Recycling

Sustainability is not always as simple as paper vs plastic, or composting vs recycling. It is about creating a circular system that works together to make better choices to reduce long-term harmful impacts. It is about reducing waste, reusing what we can, and recycling to maximize the chances of materials being useful again. Our recycling infrastructure is far from perfect, but it is more widely available and advanced than the infrastructure for composting. Most households are also not equipped to handle composting, and commercial facilities are not widely available. So chances are high that our compostable paper bag ends up in the landfill anyway. Recent studies have also shown that some of these compostable materials contain microplastics that linger on in the waste stream and are harmful to the environment.

We chose a system that we think works better with our ideologies. Our new bags are made with at least 30% post-consumer recyclable (PCR) materials and are recyclable where #4 plastics are accepted. This offers them a chance at a second life, thus reducing waste and has an overall lower carbon footprint than compostable bags. Please check with your local recycling center if they accept #4 plastics so you can confidently add our bag to your recycling bin. If they do not, you can see if recycling services like Terracycle and Ridwell are available in your neighborhood. 

Sustainability has no boundaries

Our commitment to the environment goes so much further than our packaging choices. We source our green coffee from coffee importers who share our philosophy on sustainability. This reduces our environmental footprint associated with traveling to origin countries. Our coffee comes from small family-owned farms in India that are committed to environmental sustainability and have, over the years, made significant changes to ensure that they protect and nurture the ecosystem that they are a part of. You can read some of their stories here.

We aim to deliver fresh and flavorful Indian coffee rooted in cultural integrity. We hope our bright blue bags reflect our commitment to sustainability and authentic representation. Thank you for joining us in making this world a better place, one sip at a time.