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Compost & Recycling

About our bags...

At Vigilante Coffee, we are dedicated to moving towards a zero waste operation. From compostable and recyclable to-go items in our cafes, to compostable coffee bags, and fully recyclable packaging for online orders.

Packaging is the main source of plastic pollution that is filling our oceans and landfills. This poses major threats to our environment, our health and all the animals we share this planet with.

We know climate change is one of the largest threats to humanity. We know this because it’s the #1 challenge our farmers tell us about. Regardless of where they’re farming coffee in the world, climate change, warming temperatures are impacting coffee farms and the livelihoods of our coffee farm partners.  So, now we’re focused on being part of the solution and driving towards becoming a zero waste operation. 

So, why don’t we just use 100% recyclable or biodegradable bags?

Well, because there isn’t a 100% recyclable or biodegradable bag on the market that meets our necessary specs yet. Most coffee bags have some form of inner or outer plastic liner preventing it from being recyclable or compostable. However, the tide is turning and bag manufacturers are focusing their efforts on creating better, 100% sustainable packaging. So, we’re working with what we do have in the meantime and striving towards the goal of a 100% biodegradable bag in 2021.


Currently, our bags are made from 60% biodegradable renewable wood pulp and 40% special polyethylene (plastic) which decomposes a bit faster than standard plastic and can even break down in your home compost given enough time but uhh, it's still plastic, so that’s a problem and we’re trying to solve it. Well, really we’re just waiting on the bag manufacturers to solve that and when they do, we’ll transition over to those bags. 

What can you do?

Step 1: Remove the zipper. Simply cut the top portion of the bag off right below the zipper

Step 2: Remove the degassing valve. Just cut it right out or use those bear mitts and tear that sucker right off and trash it.

Nice work! Now that the plastic has been removed, what's left of the bag material is 100% biodegradable and it can be composted or put into your trash. 

Feel good knowing that this coffee bag will not contribute to global climate change. In fact, just your little act of cutting out the plastic will play a role in saving this big beautiful planet that grows all the coffee we consume. We need the planet because without it, we wouldn’t have coffee or a place to live. And without those two things, life would be awfully hard.

The way we ship our products matters

With so many people moving to online purchases, we have to ensure we continue to make this as sustainable as possible. All of our packaging is recyclable paper. Our corrugated boxes and tape are made from recycled paper, and are 100% recyclable and compostable. Our boxes are matched to the size of our coffee bags to ensure they are snug and use less space and packaging material. We use ground shipping to ensure we are not adding to CO2 emissions unnecessarily but our goal in 2021 is to open a facility on the west coast to reduce our carbon footprint while providing quicker turnaround, and therefore fresher coffee to our west coast customers!

Coffee Grounds make GREAT compost

Our cafes compost all of our used coffee grounds. Each year, more than 1 BILLION pounds of used coffee grounds end up in landfills. When these coffee grounds break down, they create methane, a greenhouse gas that is 20 times worse than carbon dioxide and a massive direct contributor to climate change. By composting hundreds of pounds every week, new nutrient-rich, fertile, natural soil is created. Coffee grounds can be an excellent addition to a compost pile as the grounds are rich in nitrogen, providing bacteria the energy they need to turn organic matter into compost. Compost improves soil, adds important nutrients for plants, and reduces the need for expensive commercial fertilizers.

How to Recycle our To-Go Packaging

Compost OR Recycle: 12oz/16oz Hot Cup Lids, Pastry Bags, To-Go handle bags, Coffee Stirrer

Recycle Only (be sure to rinse first!): 12oz Plastic Cups, Acai/Salad Containers, Bagel Boxes, Ice Cream Cups

Compost Only: Spoons & Forks, Plastic Sip Lids, Straws, 8oz/12oz/16oz Hot and Iced Cups

Together, Vigilantes Make a Difference

Our world has many difficult problems that can feel overwhelming or impossible. But we can solve them with many small individual actions, together as a community.

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