This year’s festival, which the First Mile team attended, was held at Brick Lane’s Truman Brewery from 31st March to 3rd April. It had more than 30,000 attendees over a single weekend and showcased world-class baristas, interactive workshops, live music, DJs, coffee-based cocktails, art exhibitions and, of course, plenty of coffee tasting.
But First Mile wasn’t just there to join in the party. Because the London Coffee Festival aims to be as waste-free as possible, First Mile was also there to manage all the recycling from the event, in collaboration with decent packaging. That resulted in over 300,000 coffee cups not sent to landfill!
Decent packaging, who supply the official London Coffee Festival cups, is an innovative packaging company that has come up with a brilliant solution to food and drink single-use packaging. Coffee cup recycling, for instance, can be tricky.
Whereas most takeaway coffee cups have a thin plastic liner inside to hold the liquid contents, making recycling difficult, decent packaging only use plant-based materials. Their cups are made from plants, lined with plants and decorated with water-based ink. And because they’re made from compostable packaging, not plastic, they’re kind to the environment.
The essential concept at the heart of decent packaging is to ensure they can unmake everything they make. By using materials derived from plants, they are creating a packaging industry beyond oil. All their manufacturing processes are carried out with a circular economy in mind.
So discerning coffeeholics at the London Coffee Festival were able to throw away their used coffee cups and plates with a clear conscience. First Mile then picked up all the recycling and transported it to our recycling centre in North London to be sorted, before sending it on to an anaerobic digestion facility. Here, the compostable packaging and food waste was integrated into an organic waste system and turned into fertiliser. How cool is that?
Unfortunately, many people still think you can throw compostable items into general waste, mixed recycling or food waste bins. However, if you put compostable packaging in food waste recycling bins, many food waste processing facilities can’t handle them. And because this packaging can look like plastic, it’s often put into mixed recycling bins where it contaminates other materials. Or, if it’s added to general waste, it can end up in landfill.
By working with decent packaging, First Mile makes sure that companies that really want to invest in compostable packaging can realise their sustainability aims. This helps us all work towards zero waste, which is great news for the planet.
So if you want to up your coffee game and be part of a planet-saving solution, make sure you book your tickets early for next year’s London Coffee Festival. We’ll see you there!