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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Coffee Problem Solved

If you're like me, you can't really do too much without a good cup of Joe in the AM. We make our own coffee here at home and I always use a re-useable travel mug, but what has been bugging me since the beginning of this project (and why you haven't seen so many coffee ground listings in "the haul") are those crazy plasticoated bags they come in that are not recyclable and have limited re-use potential.

So this morning, I headed over to Whole Foods and had a really interesting talk with Richard, the guy who's in charge of the coffee area there (and incidentally it's his first day at that, after being promoted so way to go Richard). I explained to him what I was up to and told him I wanted to figure out a way to be able to come to Whole Foods and buy coffee without wasting a bag each time. I asked him if I could just bring in my own container to fill, but he mentioned that when they weigh it up front, the weight of the bag is already calculated in. While I might not mind paying the extra charge for this I'd have to probably explain everything again each time I bought coffee and don't really want to go that route time and again.

So what we ended on was this. Next time I head there I am going to buy my coffee in one of those sturdy little coffee bags that I hate so much, filling it up from the bulk coffee bins (they have fair trade shade grown so it's pretty good stuff). I'll bring that home, pour it into our coffee bean mason jar, and fold up the bag until next time I need a fill-up. Ironically, the thing that makes these bags such a nuisance, the way they are sturdily built and therefore not recyclable, is going to be an asset because I really don't see why I can't get through the year (and then some) on one bag.

At home we have a little grinder and french press manual coffee maker, so that's all relatively waste free, and the grounds can go in the worm composter, the garden, the lawn, or a number of other places. If anyone has any other thoughts, I'm game.

I'm psyched (and amped on coffee).

Dave




4 comments:

Hillary said...

Hi, Dave -- If you can find a place that sells Equal Exchange coffee, you can use their biodegradable paper coffee bags. Whole Foods doesn't sell Equal Exchange, not sure why, so I head to my local food coop when I need to buy coffee.

plumm said...

Brilliant. Why have I not thought of this? How great that Richard was so willing to work with you to find an easy solution. Usually when I am trying to find my way around packaging waste at a store I don't find employees to be so receptive. Of course I would expect this from whole Foods...but you never can tell who will be on board.

Just had to beg a thrift store employee to put my purchases into the small plastic trash can I was buying...

Anonymous said...

This is the original "anonymous" who brought up the irony of Whole Foods and the bulk coffee bags- thanks for the swell idea. I'm going to keep the bag next time and see if it will last a year. Love this blog as I am looking for the solutions that work for my family. Not everyone is the same and you can't force people to do anything, only convince them that compliance is to their advantage. Good work, Dave.

Hillary said...

I should add that of course re-using a bag like you plan to do is preferable to using a new bag each time, even if it's biodegradable. Just wanted to make you aware of the option...