An Econundrum Hero – by Erin Mussolum

She’s been collecting and carefully storing them. Making sure that they aren’t thrown out or recycled by her husband. “Lisa” as she is known, and many people like her, are heroes here at Ethical Bean. They take the time to save their coffee bags and return them to our office.

Why? We, and many other large retail roasters, face an “econundrum”. To be food safe, and to keep the beans that we work so hard to produce fresh and tasty, we use a bag that is frustratingly not the most ideal, and as a company who prides itself on good environmental practices we really struggle with this.

However, what we are doing is collecting our coffee bags and the bags from other competitors, and storing them at our Kootenay Street facility until we find a solution.  Lisa recently showed up here at Ethical Bean with about 30 empty bags and included a proud note that said, “These are all from me J.” We thought that was just plain awesome!

We know that a ton of others have also dropped off their empty coffee bags and because of their efforts Ethical Bean has collected over 3500 bags since March 2010. That means that those bags never ended up in a landfill!

Lisa is no stranger to the bag problem. She was first alerted to the issue of coffee bags ending up in landfills years ago when she worked at Starbucks. “I was astonished by how many bags that were put straight into the garbage,” she says.

Today she’s passionate about recycling saying, “You have to look beyond your own inconvenience,” and adds that now more than ever she is aware of her actions because of her children. Lisa is starting early by teaching them to do their part for the environment. She loads them up in the car and drives to Ethical Bean to make the bag drop showing her kids where to put the used bags.  She hopes that one day throwing things in the garbage will be illegal and we’ll have to recycle and reuse everything.  After all “It’s the future,” she says.

We couldn’t agree more!

We’d like to remind and encourage all our Ethical Bean customers to return their empty coffee bags to us. Drop them off to Ethical Bean Coffee’s flagship café located at 1315 Kootenay Street or mail them directly to us at:

Ethical Bean Coffee

1315 Kootenay Street

Vancouver, BC. V5K 4Y3

More information about the coffee bag “econundrum” can be found at Scout Magazine.


2 Responses to An Econundrum Hero – by Erin Mussolum

  1. Becky Greenhow says:

    Could the bags be remade into those funky tote bags and then sold in your cafes? I saw on another site (Nestle) that some of their chocolate bar bags were being collected and made into totes. Sounded fun. Just a thought. 🙂

  2. Max says:

    Is this recycling program still active? and can i send your competitors empty coffee bags too?

    dr. Max

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