Beans by the bucket – reducing waste in the coffee industry

Beans by the bucket – reducing waste in the coffee industry

Eco buckets of coffee beans is just one of the ways Switch is making strides to change the coffee industry for the better.
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Like fried chicken, coffee is best when it comes by the bucket. At Switch we’re pretty concerned about all the waste that happens in our industry. Between coffee bags, boxes, cups, lids and industrial waste there tends to be a lot of junk that ends up in a landfill. We’ve got a series of initiatives to reduce waste to almost zero.

Our idea of using eco buckets to deliver coffee beans to cafés might seem like a simple one, but it’s been an absolute game changer. Each bucket carries up to 8kg of beans and it means we don’t have to use sealed plastic bags that just get chucked out. Cafés hold onto the buckets which keep the beans fresh, and we swap the buckets out each time we deliver new beans. The buckets get cleaned, sterilised and reused, saving about 36,000 bags per year.

Sadly we can’t deliver to everyone by hand – some of our partner cafés are too far away and we have to courier to them, which means we can’t use the eco buckets. For these establishments, we send the beans in big, tough reusable ziplock bags and ask them to hold onto the empty bags. Whenever we visit for training, machine service or to check in on things, we pick up all the empties and bring them back to the roastery to use again and again. We also pick up old boxes from our coffee partners and reuse them where we can – every bit helps!

And if you’re looking to take some of our beans home with you, the good news is our retail bags are made of paper. They’re specially designed to keep your beans fresh and be reusable, and when you’re done with them they go in your yellow recycling bin.

We encourage anyone taking coffee away from our cafés to use one of our Switch Espresso Keep Cups, and you’ll get a discount for using your Keep Cup at Black Betty, Bunsen and Industrie Espresso Bar. If you’ve just got to have a takeaway cup, we use Innocent Packaging cups and lids that are made from plants and contain no plastic.

Our three cafés also sell an awesome local product, Sammy Bags. They’re sustainably made, reusable bags made from washable kraft paper by a couple of cool Christchurchians. Grab one and take it home to keep your coffee fresh and waste out of the landfill.