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OUR PACKAGING

Embedded in our company's ethos is a steadfast commitment to minimizing our environmental impact. Even when faced with challenges like increased difficulty, expense, or time investment, we remain dedicated to this principle.

Unfortunately, the coffee industry is inherently wasteful, with practices like single-use paper to-go cups and non-recyclable coffee bag materials contributing to environmental harm. Rather than accepting these norms, we actively seek ways to improve.

Most recently, this has lead us to make a pivotal shift in our packaging strategy, saying goodbye to compostable bags in favor of renewable and recyclable materials.

NEW 12OZ + 5LB BAGS

12 oz Nossa Familia coffee bags now feature SugarFlex™, an innovative material that's both durable and recyclable* in plastic collection streams. SugarFlex™ is not only highly recyclable but also carbon-negative, crafted from a renewable plant-based byproduct actively reducing carbon emissions. Due to its inert nature, if Sugarflex™ ends up in landfills it gradually reforms into biogenic carbon instead of generating greenhouse gas emissions.

We've also revamped our 5 lb packaging. These larger coffee bags now consist of 85% post-consumer plastic, certified safe for food contact. Not only do they provide the durability and functionality required for packaging our coffee beans, but they also boast a 50% smaller carbon footprint compared to plastics made from virgin fossil fuels.

Not all our bags have transitioned from compostable to recyclable materials, but we're actively pursuing this goal to ensure our packaging aligns with our environmental commitment.

*Both our 12 oz and 5 lb bags are made of non-compostable, plastic material that needs to go into a dedicated polyethylene stream or a drop-off collection stream, which are limited although growing rapidly. Ridwell, a Portland-based recycler of special materials, now offers multi-layer plastic bag recycling - including non-compostable coffee bags like ours. If Ridwell isn't available in your area, online directories such as GreenCitizen list nearby recycling facilities and resources, many of them free, nationwide.

WHY THE SWITCH FROM COMPOSTABLES?

You might be wondering why we made the switch from compostable to recyclable materials. The truth is, while compostable packaging seemed like a sustainable solution initially, we've since learned that it's not always the most environmentally friendly option.

Here’s why:  

  • Not all items compost fully, leading to contamination in finished compost. 
  • Collection programs accepting compostable products may mix non-compostable items, increasing operating costs and degrading compost quality.  
  • Chemicals from compostable packaging may transfer into finished compost, posing risks to human and environmental health.  
  • Packaging materials accepted in compost facilities may hinder the production of compost used in organic farming due to national standards. 
  • Compostable items may have a larger environmental footprint than non-compostable alternatives due to manufacturing processes. 

Learn More: For a deeper dive into the reasons behind our packaging switch, we invite you to read the full letter from Composters Serving Oregon.

ZERO WASTE EFFORTS AT NOSSA FAMILIA'S CAFES

Implementing the To-Go Cup Upcharge:

The biggest step we’ve taken to reduce waste at our cafes is to implement a 25¢ upcharge for getting a disposable to-go cup and a 25¢ discount for bringing your own reusable mug.

Since implementing this new policy, we have witnessed a notable decrease in the use of to-go cups at the café, along with a significant rise in customers opting to bring in their own reusable mugs. Encouraged by the positive outcomes of our pilot program at Seven Corners, we expanded the to-go cup upcharge to all our cafes on Earth Day in 2019.

Zero Waste is a journey with a difficult-to-reach endpoint. We are always looking for ways to improve. Initiatives we continue to work on include:

  • offering coffee bag recycling at our cafes;
  • adding additional food menu items without the extra waste;
  • working with suppliers and vendors to limit the packaging and waste coming into the café;
  • promoting reusable cup options including bringing in your own mug, borrowing a travel mug from Okapi or a donated cup from our Little Free Cup Library;
  • and reducing our disposable cup usage.

Read our blog to learn more about the progress we've made on our Zero Waste journey.

READ THE BLOG

REUSE + RECYCLING AT THE ROASTERY

On the roastery side we work to reduce waste by:

  • delivering coffee in durable, reusable containers to our cafes and wholesale clients;
  • using boxes made with recycled content that are 100% recyclable;
  • purchasing coffee bags that are made of renewable materials and recyclable;
  • creatively reusing label backing as packaging stuffing;
  • reusing boxes and packaging materials we receive;
  • donating burlap sacks to local community partners and gardens;
  • reselling coffee sacks made of recycled denim to designers, gardners and crafters;
  • giving away shipping pallets and grain-pro agricultural bags;
  • and donating unsold coffee to local nonprofits.