Zero-waste living is not without compromise. If it were possible to avoid single-use items and over-packaged products and choose 100% reusable 100% of the time—all without spending extra time or money—well … a lot of the world’s current problems would be solved.
But don’t be discouraged.
The most sustainable changes are the easiest changes, and making your caffeine addiction a zero-waste one is pretty darn simple.
When buying coffee on the go, we all know that remembering to carry your own reusable cup is all about habit. Plus, many cafés offer a discount on drinks served in your own cup.
But what about your home brew?
If you buy your coffee off the shelf, you’ll be familiar with the thick bags or tins that coffee is sold in. The problem with these containers is that they’re composed of multiple materials, making them difficult or impossible to recycle.
Big chain grocery stores and independent cafés alike sell coffee beans in bulk, but the provided bags are again either the multi-layer polyethylene and aluminum variety or resource-intensive paper.
If you normally buy your coffee pre-packaged, switching to bulk is already a step in an eco-friendlier direction. And if you already buy your beloved beans in bulk, why not purchase them (whole or ground) in a 100% reusable bag? (And if you use K-Cups … well, I do encourage you to stop!)
Enter Öko Creations’ reusable hemp coffee bag: the most ecological and aesthetically pleasing way to caffeinate yourself at home!
Simply bring it with you wherever you buy beans (this is honestly the hardest part … the remembering), fill it up and bring it home. If you grind your beans at the store, fear not: there are no seams inside the bag, so the precious coffee grounds won’t get stuck in the creases.
The bag closes like a dry bag: simply fold, roll, and snap! Now you’ve got a handle and a spill-proof seal.
You can store your beans in Öko’s bulk coffee bag on your counter or transfer into your preferred storage container. Lined with food-grade film, it’s designed to keep your coffee fresh for several weeks, about as long as I’d expect from a traditional multi-layer disposable bag (which I can never seem to properly reseal after opening).
I refilled my Öko reusable coffee bag at my local Save-On-Foods. Bulk beans are $29.90/kg, so the 28 g hemp bag added 80 cents to the price of my coffee. I’m not sure if they can tare it for me next time I need to refill so I’m not paying extra. (I was in a hurry so we just used the self checkout.)
National chains like Bulk Barn and Community Natural Foods here in Calgary have a #BYOB (bring your own bag) process in place already. At Community Naturals just bring your bag up to the cash register and they’re tare it before you fill up.
Uses for your Öko coffee bag are certainly not limited to coffee. Bulk tea, bulk spices—any dry bulk goods can be purchased and stored in this bag. The bag features a label for the product number if necessary. You can write on it with pencil which you can then then wash off!
Öko also makes a reusable hemp bread bag with the same great features as their coffee bag. I use it to get bulk croissants and other yummy carb-loaded treats at local bakeries or the bakery section of my local grocery store. I also use this bag to transport our flakey or crumbly goodies to the playground for the inevitable cries of hunger from my children.
Öko’s reusable hemp bulk bags are printed with a water-based dye and made with a 55% hemp, 45% organic cotton fabric that is durable and easy to care for. They are lovingly made in Québec and retail for $16.95. A single Öko reusable coffee bag, able to contain about 680 g of coffee, will easily replace many years’ worth of disposable bags!