Grinders Coffee trials new packaging with Jet Technologies

Grinders Coffee

Grinders Coffee explains why it’s committed to finding the most sustainable solutions, which includes trialling new packaging with current partner Jet Technologies.

Alot has changed since Grinders Coffee first opened its doors to the city of Melbourne in 1962. In that time, roasting technology has evolved, dairy alternatives have become mainstream, and coffee can be bought over the internet. But there are two things that have remained the same: Grinders Coffee’s passion for producing quality coffee, and its sustainable focus.

That focus has ramped up with Grinders Coffee’s sustainable mission, in line with parent company Coca-Cola Europacific Partners’ (CCEP) goal to move to 100 per cent recyclable packaging by the end of 2025.

In 2022, the Australian Packaging Covenant (APCO) also tightened the criteria on managing packaging materials in Australia. Its 2025 targets include that 100 per cent of packaging is reusable, recyclable, or compostable.

As such, the challenge for Australian roaster Grinders Coffee was to find a flexible packaging solution that would adhere to such criteria and maintain product integrity to meet the demands of its café and restaurant customers, and supermarket channels and their distribution centres.

Grinders Coffee’s Giuseppe Cianchi, Master Roaster and Procurement Manager, says the most important change was the elimination of the inner layer of foil used in its coffee packaging that keeps coffee fresh once packed.

One promising solution has come to light from packaging specialist Jet Technologies, which aims to provide the best material available that adheres to the highest designation within APCO’s criteria to being “recycle ready”. The choices were either mono materials: Mono Polypropylene (PP), Mono Polyethylene (PE), or a Polyolefin material composition.

“Polyolefins are mixtures of PP and PE. These materials achieve very high recyclability designations since they are just like mono materials. They’re from the same family of compounds, chemically speaking. Therefore, their melting points are very similar. When you’re going through the process of recycling them, they’re interchangeable as mono materials,” says Daniel Malki, General Manager of Jet Technologies.

Daniel says the two main challenges of recycling soft plastics from kerbside are related to sorting of the various kinds of soft plastics materials into clean streams, and the aftermarket demand for the recyclate from industry to create new products. He says these challenges are a major focus for the APCO and industry who are making a great progress.

While some would argue that composting is an easier solution, Daniel says much of the compostable packaging available is ‘industrially compostable’, and there is no collection scheme countrywide to process the material, which requires special conditions to compost.

Once a collection scheme is up and running, Grinders Coffee will have the right material structure in place for its coffee bags. Daniel says it’s impressive to see Grinders Coffee engaged as an early adopter to test and trial Jet Technologies’ recycle ready coffee packaging, especially given its high volume of production.

“[Grinders] wants to be ready. They want to have done all the trials, which they’re currently doing through their high-speed environment,” he says.

The new packaging material is being tested to assess shelf life, coffee freshness, and integrity of product, which Daniel hopes is “ideally as good as” aluminium foil performed.

Grinders Coffee has always maintained a sustainable ethos. It buys green beans from all over the world and believes its environmental responsibilities start at the source. That’s why 100 per cent of Grinders Coffee is ethically sourced. More than 50 per cent of beans used in production are Rainforest Alliance Certified. The rest is screened via EcoVadis, a corporate social responsibility organisation that ensures coffee is sourced in an ethical and environmentally friendly way.

At its Melbourne roastery, Grinders Coffee is passionate about its sustainable efforts, taking steps to decarbonise its operations. It has implemented new roasting software to optimise its roasting processes, reducing gas consumption per batch.

Grinders Coffee also diverts used coffee grounds and soft plastics from landfill in partnership with social enterprise Reground. This year, the roaster will also complete its shift from using PE-lined takeaway cups to water-based lined Aqueous takeaway cups. It will also transition to pulp lids throughout the year, which are made from white sugarcane pulp, a plant-based, 100 per cent renewable alternative to the standard plastic lid.

Grinders Coffee’s General Manager Sally Byrne says the company’s sustainability is an important focus, and one that it is committed to prioritising and upholding at all levels of the supply chain, including the packaging of coffee.

“We’re not just going to sit back and comply with the current rules but have an eye on the future to what’s the next evolution of packaging so that we can be more sustainable and not just wait for it to be a mandatory requirement,” Sally says.

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This article appears in the June 2023 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE.

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