Recycle and Reuse for National Compost Week
Championed by Chartered Horticulturalist and TV personality David Domoney, March 14th-20th 2022 is National Compost Week. At Chimney Fire Coffee we are proud that all of our packaging is either recyclable or certified compostable, but there is plenty you can do with your used coffee bags before you put them in your food waste!
Evidence of composting stretches thousands of years into our past. Allowing organic material to break down naturally helps sequester carbon back into the soil, increasing nutrient density and promoting biodiversity.
If you’re lucky enough to have an outdoor space, home composting is a worthwhile habit to get into. It prevents food waste from being sent to landfill, which reduces household methane emissions and directly improves soil health. David’s website is a fabulous resource and provides all the information you need to begin composting at home.
All our coffee bags are certified industrially compostable, which means you’ll want to put them in your food waste bin. If your local authority doesn’t currently offer food waste collection then you shouldn’t have to wait much longer, as the UK government has committed to roll out separate food waste collection nationwide by 2023.
Other components of our bags are rated as compostable* (for example colours, labels, glues and - in case of packaging products - residues of the content), and the card with the QR code is recyclable. After three months composting and subsequent sifting through a 2 mm sieve, no more than 10 percent residue may remain, as compared to the original mass.
What should I do with my used bags?
As well as being compostable at the end of their life, there’s plenty you can do with your used coffee bags. We asked our subscribers about what ways they reuse theirs…
“A gift for a friend!” - Anne
“Big bags are filled with vegetable waste we’re adding to our compost heap - it helps speed up the breakdown of material.” - Andrew
“I put used banana skins in them so they don’t leak all over our small food waste bin” - Helen
Utilising used coffee grounds in your garden
Using coffee grounds from a reputable roaster will provide you with a nutritious and chemical-free fertiliser, improving drainage, water retention, and aeration within your soil. Be sure to mix them thoroughly so they don’t dry out and become a barrier to the soil.
While naturally acidic, the pH of coffee grounds can be neutralised by washing the grounds before sprinkling them on your soil. This means that it’s not just plants that love acidic soil (such as azaleas, gardenias, and all types of ferns) that will benefit.
Worms also love coffee grounds, so if you have a wormery a moderate amount can go straight in - including the filter paper if you’ve used one! However, they also work as a deterrent to slugs and snails if sprinkled near vulnerable plants.
What else can I do with used coffee grounds?
For those who aren’t so green-fingered, there are other ways to utilise your used coffee grounds.
Coffee grounds are abrasive, and therefore work very well as either a body scrub or DIY cleaning product - a quick search will yield a number of recipes for both of these. Innovative companies such as bio-bean also recycle used coffee grounds into biofuels, such as wood burner logs for the home and biomass boilers for industrial use. For more ideas about what to do with your used coffee grounds, check our article from 2020.
You can find more information about our compostable packaging and sustainability goals on our Recycle, Reuse, Reward page. If you already compost at home, you may wish to contribute to the Big Compost Experiment to help combat plastic waste in the UK.
*It is important to note that this standard (BS EN 13432) relates directly to industrial composting processes, and home compost heaps will likely take longer than this to fully biodegrade. Our testing shows it is the plastic zipper and valve that takes the most time to break down.