Can coffee bags be recycled?

If your coffee bag is made of paper, it can be recycled. If it is coated with a thin plastic film, like most coffee cups are, it cannot be recycled. Separating plastic film from plastic makes recycling impossible. 

Furthermore, coffee bags made of plastic are also not recyclable. The foil in coffee bags are layers of plastic, too. Its combination of disparate materials makes them impossible to recycle simply because separating cannot be done.

What about coffee cans?

On the other hand, plastic coffee cans and jug-style containers are recyclable. The only thing you have to remember when recycling the coffee container is to make sure you loosely place the plastic lid back on the container so they can be recycled together.

Reducing and reusing coffee bags

Coffee is most people’s creative juice, so we cannot expect the world to completely cut down on caffeine. Fortunately, there are ways to lessen the amount of coffee bags sitting in landfills.

  • Buy coffee in bulk instead of buying single bags of coffee. This will not only dramatically minimize your trash collection, but will also save you a lot of money from your grocery budget.  
  • Switch to coffee beans from the bulk section of supermarkets. Make it a habit to bring an empty coffee bag or jar every time you go grocery shopping. This will save you from buying a new container which will only end up in the trash.

We can also save money on fair trade organic coffee instead of commercially-produced ones. Bigger bags means less garbage per pound of coffee.

Reusing coffee bags is fairly easy, too. Its durability and versatility is perfect to use as tote bags and hanging containers at home.

What is a closed loop recycling system?

This simply means controlling materials throughout its life, so they know exactly what is going in the recycling mix. 

By the time these products reach the end of their life, facilities are able to reprocess them, which results in zero plastic going to waste.

How are coffee bags recycled?

Once collected, wastes are mechanically separated into metals, fiber and plastics. In the case of plastic coffee bags, it undergoes extrusion and pelletization to be molded into new recycled plastic products.

When trying to recycle, make sure you empty the coffee bags. You also need to remember that food scrap should not be included. Clean out your coffee bags to make sure they are free from coffee ground, capsules, disc, and filters. 

Excess products should be completely removed to ensure successful recycling.

However, it should be noted that not all coffee bags are recyclable. Those metalized plastic bags that we most often see are neither recyclable or biodegradable. This means when we throw them in the trash, they will probably be in the landfill forever.

Steps taken to minimize waste in consuming coffee

One of the largest cafes is promoting the recyclability, compostability and reusability of their packaging and cups.

Every year, they consume 1 percent of the 600 billion paper, packaging and plastic cups distributed globally. In the quest to find a greener alternative, they started promoting a more sustainable solution to reduce the impact of their products. Through cup innovation and improved packaging design, they promote their advocacy for local recycling infrastructure, and have started offering reusable cups.

Common questions about recycling coffee bags

Can I recycle foil coffee bags?

No. Foil coffee bags are made of multilayered plastic materials and aluminum. Because these materials have been processed together, it is impossible to separate them, thus making them impossible to recycle.

Are individual coffee creamers recyclable?

Most sachets are made of plastic material, which are non-recyclable. This also includes individual coffee creamers. A great alternative to these products are the bigger packs in boxes and jugs.

What can I do with empty coffee bags?

If you’re crafty and creative, you would not run out of ideas about repurposing empty coffee bags. You can turn them into shopping bags, purses, and so much more. You can also try using them as makeshift containers of your trinkets at home.

With the largest cafes leading recycling programs, recycling seems like a simple, straightforward initiative but it’s actually quite challenging. However, like many things, if one is seriously committed in looking for more environmentally-friendly choices, it could be done. 

The great thing about coffee bags is that they come in many types. A few can be easily recycled, while some just end up in landfills. The key is to do a little research and try to apply it to the choices you make every day.

Choosing your coffee just got more fun. Now you should not only use their flavor as a deciding factor, but also see how they are packed and where they would end up after you finish your favorite cup of joe.