In the UK we love a cup of coffee. Here is our guide to drinking coffee with less of the plastic waste...
The following ground coffee and coffee beans are available without plastic packaging:
- Percol is a fair trade coffee available in most supermarkets. The ground and while bean coffees come in a compostable wrapper certified plastic-free by A Plastic Planet. The material is derived from a range of natural products such as paper, plant fibres and eucalyptus wood pulp and is compostable. They also make a certified plastic free coffee bag.
- Whittards sell coffee refills in their shops. Take your own container or they sell reusable tins/caddies.
- Marks & Spencer Café Ground Coffee is available in a tin
- Order online from Plastic Free Pantry who stock both plastic-free whole bean and ground coffees as well as decaffeinated coffee. Whole beans are shipped in paper bags, ground coffee is shipped in compostable Nutureflex bags.
- Coffee Mongers sell coffee in compostable paper bags, or take your own container to their store in Lymington (SO41 8LZ)
- Or check your local market or farmers market, which may have a coffee stall, and take a reusable container with you
- Or check your local zero waste store
Coffee Capsules / Pods
In the UK we use thousands of coffee capsules each day. Some are more easily recyclable than others, but according to Wired.com, capsule coffee may be one of the most sustainable ways to get your daily caffeine hit.
It is worth checking with your current brand of choice if their pods are recyclable - some, such as Nespresso, run a return scheme.
Compostable coffee capsules:
- Lost Sheep Coffee make a compostable coffee capsules made from lignin - a woody waste product from the paper industry - and is compatible with Nespresso machines. These can go in the food waste once used.
- Halo Coffee pods are paper-based and compostable. Compatible with Nespresso Original Home systems.
- Eden Project make compostable coffee capsules compatible with Nespresso machines. These can be put in your garden waste collection or your home compost. The capsules are made from biodegradable bioplastic and produced using energy generated from wind, sun, hydropower and biogas. Packaging is recyclable card and printed using vegetable-based inks. Available in Waitrose.
- Moving Beans make biodegradable coffee capsules compatible with Nespresso machines. These can go in the food waste once used or are certified compostable by Vinçotte - OK Compost. Packaging is recyclable card.
- Lavazza have a compostable pod called Ricco. It is recommended that this goes to commercial composting.
- Urban Brew (Australian brand) make compostable pods in biodegradable/ recyclable packaging. Compatible with Nespresso, Caffitaly and K-fee®* / Aldi machines.
Which have produced a guide to the best compostable coffee pods (subscription).
Reduced-plastic Coffee Options
- Bad Hand Coffee is available online in 'omnidegradable' packaging. This is technically still a plastic but is a zero waste option as the packaging will breakdown in home and industrial composting as well as landfill without leaving any toxic or harmful byproducts in the soil. Orders are shipped to customers in cardboard envelopes. This brand is available in some zero waste / bulk buy shops in the Bournemouth area including Almond & Co., Sunrise Organics and The Hungry Bird.
- Douse Egberts coffee is available in most supermarkets in a glass jar. There some plastic under the lid. The jar can be reused or recycled.
- illy coffee is available in tins (some with a plastic lid) from most supermarkets. The tins can be reused or recycled.
- Bean Smitten is available direct and online from Yumbles. The packaging is returnable to them for recycling via a TerraCycle scheme.
- If you’re looking for a reusable coffee cup, the rCup reusable travel cup is a Which Best Buy and rated Best Buy by The Independent. It’s dishwasher safe, leak proof and comes with a 10-year guarantee. It’s also made from recycled paper coffee cups (40%) and is recyclable at end of life.
- Find more recommended reusable travel cups.
- Also drink tea? We’ve started a guide to plastic-free tea
This information is provided as a guide only and is accurate to the best of our knowledge.
Found something better?
Share your recommended plastic-free alternative