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August 19, 2020 48 Comments

We just wanted to take some time to explain our packaging choices of late. We appreciate those of you that have been with us a while will have seen many changes, and to those of you that are new to Rave Welcome, we hope this helps you understand our choices. 

It’s important to say we are not claiming to be experts on the topic of environmentally friendly packaging, but we have done a fair bit of reading (much of it being conflicting information) tested many sample coffee bags and the long and short is - that the perfect coffee bag doesn’t exist…  just yet.

We rebranded RAVE in December 2019 - we spent months prior to this trying to find the best coffee bags on the market that aligned with our criteria

Coffee-bag-criteria

Oxo_Degrdable_pouchWhen we made the move away from the old plastic foil lined pouches we were sent samples of an 'oxo-biodegradable' packaging, which we were super happy with. However this was mis sold as when the printed bags arrived we ended up with 'oxo-degradable' packaging  (we won’t bore you, but do read about the difference!) When we questioned the company it seems they didn't really know what they were selling and held conflicting information on their own products. 

Still keen to get a more environmentally friendly product we switched suppliers and ordered biodegradable bags - but unfortunately we were in the middle of the pandemic and the factory that creates the material had temporarily closed and our only choice was to go with a ‘recyclable’ material. 

 

recyclable-4

So, our current bags are made from LDPE (Low density polythene) which bears the recyclable 4 logo, most major supermarkets have a carrier bag recycling point where the bags can be placed for recycling. 

 

Recyclable & Biodegradable both have pros and cons - neither of which we are entirely comfortable with on an environmental level. ‘Biodegradable’ is a real buzz word but do we really understand it’s impact? We’re still reading and learning but it’s clear that in terms of packaging it's not just about what happens when we are finished with it - but what environmental impact the production of these materials have.

Foldback-clip

 

On to the Clips - Here at Rave we loved them.

 

You lot RAVED about them (good & bad!) many of you dislike them and see them as wasteful, but contrary to this many of you love them and have found some ingenious ways to repurpose them. For those of you that order coffee regularly we appreciate they accumulate, but please REUSE, REUSE, REUSE! (...or gift to a stationery loving friend!) We will be moving away from these shortly.

Moral of the story you can’t keep 100% of people happy 100% of the time. And that’s ok.

CONCLUSION: 

We are switching to a flat bottom pouch with a zip lower down the bag so the label can be attached securely. This should make the labels more secure in transit. 

Our ideal bag would be made of a home compostable material, but the packaging industry isn’t quite there yet, sure compostable material exists but not alongside a one way valve, tear off zip with the durability and oxygen barrier we require.

Our coffee bags will be recyclable until we find a better product on the market! 


48 Responses

John Potter
John Potter

October 08, 2020

I received my Aeropress kit + Coffee, just today. Clips to secure I would always say yes !
Heading Packaging: Talking to the posty on its arrival, yes the large cardboard box is similar the Amazon voidspace boxes, 3 if not 4 times volume than required . (this is an observation, not a complaint, well maybe the posty….)
One cup down, with more to follow….

David
David

September 11, 2020

Another like for the clips, they have become an integral part of my life.
Perhaps you might consider using “Rave” branded clips, just a thought.

Jean
Jean

August 21, 2020

I’ll miss the clips! I LOVE them.

Peter
Peter

August 21, 2020

Thanks for this update and for being honest about the issues your company faces.

I normally purchase in-shop and in my own tin, but I haven’t been able to do this since Covid struck.

I think more people are realising that most plastic doesn’t or can’t be recycled, instead it ends up in other countries who don’t have the facilities for it, so it is land-filled or burned. It seems that biodegradable just means that it is more quickly converted to micro-plastic so that it can go on to contaminate water, rivers, oceans etc.

I’ve seen that another company that is advertising certified ‘Plastic-Free’ packaging, is this viable? Alternatively, I’d be more than happy to transfer beans posted to me in a paper bag to a re-usable container.

Leo
Leo

August 20, 2020

I love the clips as I use them for holding bags closed in the fridge, freezer and pantry unit. They are also used in the home office and elsewhere. With regards to the bags it is a minefield – LDPE is easily recycled into other products but biodegradable bags can release a lot of CO2 and so aren’t necessarily a better option. When my company was looking for the most sustainable packaging we opted for LDPE as it is almost infinitely recyclable. The issue post-pandemic is that many local authorities have stopped recycling and almost all rubbish is now going straight to landfill.

Paul Williams
Paul Williams

August 20, 2020

I’ll miss the clips! Always got a use for the next one to come along… My work desk is sooo much tidier for them.They hold cables, papers, notes, all sorts. I’d be very happy to keep receiving them!

S Hopcroft
S Hopcroft

August 20, 2020

Thanks for your update. We were having our containers filled in store until COVID. Personally, we only need packaging to survive in the post and there are sturdy paper options that fit the bill. It would be great if this were an option in the ordering process. We love Your coffee and think it is great you have taken the time to look into this issue.

Steven Bennett
Steven Bennett

August 20, 2020

I’m neutral about the clips. I keep them and do use them to hold papers together but wonder what to do with so many, I probably have a dozen or so now. I did wonder about whether you would welcome them back. They will all eventually get reused, one way or another, and being metal will probably be around for years…at the back of drawers etc. As for the packaging! When my beans arrive they are transferred, within a day or so, to the coffee mill where they last for a week or so until all used. I don’t think they deteriorate over this short time. When I get a bag of ground coffee it goes straight into and air tight plastic tub which lives in the cupboard between uses. Again I don’t think there is any deterioration over the two weeks or so before its all gone.
I try to prize the moisture button of the bag, sometimes it comes off and sometimes I give up as my nails are in danger of breaking first. Being plastic it goes into the plastic recycling bin which I hope is the best place for it. Unfortunately the bag goes into the general ‘landfill’ rubbish bin as, after looking at it, I couldn’t decide if it was paper, plastic or both.
So, for me I only need a package which will last long enough to get the beans safely to me, after which it is of no more use.
On a different tack I would like to praise the Royal Mail, the company you use for delivery, and hope you don’t ever change to another delivery organisation. You have selected packaging sizes which nicely go through our letter box…well done.

Inga
Inga

August 20, 2020

Thank you RAVE for explaining your packaging choices. As a long-ish standing RAVE customers I admit I was a bit perplexed and uncertain about the recent packaging (and branding) changes. But I 100% appreciate that you have taken the time to try and research / provide more sustainable options (and not just packaging – growers, beans, etc too). I have also found the new bags can be constantly re-used as sandwich bags (instead of cling film) when I go out on a big day’s cycling. So please keep it up!

Paul
Paul

August 20, 2020

Personally I love the clips, they are massively useful around the house, genuinely the second best thing about Rave (after the coffee!)

Matt
Matt

August 19, 2020

We LOVE the clips … they get reused all the time and they never die like plastic tat does. Feel free to keep sending them! In the meantime good luck with your search and of course, you could always invest in creating your own packaging. It’s a leap but some amazing companies make the world a better place doing just that!

Hamish
Hamish

August 19, 2020

I think the recyclable paper bags were great! No print and no plastic. There is not any need for print, because I already know what to expect before it is dispatched (thanks to your great email communications). In fact I would go further and not send any of the supplementary leaflets eg: the different methods of making coffee. These usually goes directly into the bin the moment after opening the box (as cute as they are). Paper is the way forward in my opinion. Even if it were to end up in the oceans rather than a paper recycling facility, it wouldn’t take long for it to disintegrate. Just send me plain kraft paper bags filled with your delicious coffee in a craft paper box.

Fiona
Fiona

August 19, 2020

Thanks for giving us an update – you’ve clearly done a lot of research and it is good to know that you are restless to find the perfect bag. Coffee is always great though.

Arnie Göbel
Arnie Göbel

August 19, 2020

The clips are nice, but wasteful. You must go through tons of them, and it would be nicer to safe this money and put it back to support the growers. I know it might not be much, but every little helps.
We all know what coffee we ordered and drink, so for me personally, I don’t need a card, a small sticky label with the coffee name will do, and if I want more info, I can get this from your website, which I always do when visitor asks me what coffee it is. It then also straight away promotes Rave.
Keep up the good work.

Will Dunlop
Will Dunlop

August 19, 2020

I love your beans, your packaging, your clips and your honest approach to all you do. Keep up the good work!

JOANNA TUBBS
JOANNA TUBBS

August 19, 2020

I really appreciate the level of research you’re putting into this. Loads of companies shout about the eco credentials of their biodegradable packaging without having a clue about the manufacturing of end of life processes. PS I like the clips!

Liam
Liam

August 19, 2020

Thanks for the update. I had wondered what was happening as a lot had changed recently. Ditto the previous comments about all the unnecessary paperwork that comes with the coffee now, and the new box that doesn’t fit the letterbox. Great coffee though so can’t complain. Thank you!

Adrian
Adrian

August 19, 2020

First, hats off to you for thinking so much about this. But secondly, i only ever order green beans from you, surely these don’t need to be in the oxygen secure bag? I also got frustrated with the reduction in size from one kilo to a half kilo, so after 5+ years ordered elsewhere….only to receive big plastic bags, doh! So I’ll probably be coming back…..but not if i can find simple bags for simple green beans!

ieuan care
ieuan care

August 19, 2020

I loved the update! Something I’ve always wanted to ask a company that issues reusable cutlery (or in this case clips) is: can you add it as an option on your order form? I appreciate you want to keep orders to a minimum but ‘do you need a clip for your bag?’ for registered users is a simple solution.

Thanks for doing thorough homework with the packaging!

Chrissie Williams
Chrissie Williams

August 19, 2020

My first comment is a positive one. It’s appreciated by many I’m sure that you’re doing everything you can to be environmentally friendly with your packaging. However my second comment is a disappointed one.

When my last order of coffee arrived from Rave unfortunately the packaging was split which meant that some of the beans had spilled out into the box, that means that the coffee wasn’t air sealed as it should have been. There was a wonderful smell of coffee when the box arrived at my door so I knew right away that there was something wrong. Nevertheless the coffee tastes good 👍🏼 I only hope it stays that way to the last bean 🤞

Ian Chard
Ian Chard

August 19, 2020

It’s great that you are trying to work this through and I’m sure you (packaging companies) will eventually get there. Please keep at it, your product is great, but if we can help the environment and still enjoy fabulous coffee then so much the better.

Gary Evans
Gary Evans

August 19, 2020

I recently bought seven bags and after the courier mangled the box 2 of the clips came off but hankfully customer support has come to the rescue. For me a simple number on the bag which could be cross-referenced to the packing slip would be enough as I roast in small batches and then use jars to store.

Dave
Dave

August 19, 2020

We use the clips for sealing bags of herbs/flour/etc in the kitchen cupboards – very handy!

Anne
Anne

August 19, 2020

Good to see a company thinking about env. friendly packaging and talking about it to its customers! Since you changed the packaging, i’ve always been wondering whether the carbon footprint of a printed bag was higher than that of a printed cardboard with fancy colours + a paperclip made of metal. I would assume so, otherwise was it more a cost choice rather than an environmental choice?
At some point you had limited printing on your bags and that sounded to me a good option (i really didn’t like when the bag was all covered in print!). As a suggestion, for those interested in the details of how the coffee was grown, etc then perhaps they could receive a personalized email for the coffee they’ve ordered with all its characteristics.

Alan Ballard
Alan Ballard

August 19, 2020

I’m sorry to hear the handy clips are going but thank you for efforts to find a planet friendly pack. Variety (and good coffee) is the spice of life!

Dane
Dane

August 19, 2020

The bags that North Star coffee in Leeds use are really nice; recyclable plastic with a cardboard sleeve made of recycled coffee cups. They have a valve too, and we’ve received plenty through the post with no issues. I do like the clips and they’ll definitely come in handy but can see that they are probably a bit wasteful. Well done on genuinely engaging with this issue though, rather than just plumping for the first thing with a ‘recycle’ logo on it.

Andy King
Andy King

August 19, 2020

I wonder how many people use/keep the bag? We decant into the hopper, the rest goes into a spring lock jar. The bags only purpose is carrying home.. How about the option to collect loose beans in your own container?

Gerlinde
Gerlinde

August 19, 2020

Thank you for the update on your search of environmentally friendly packaging.
I don’t need any clips or fancy writing on the package, as long as the bag keeps the coffee beans fresh.
Less packaging for delivery is great and if you can find a recyclable bag, that would be great!
Not easy with all the mis-information out there.
Thanks for trying to make a difference! x

Michelle k
Michelle k

August 19, 2020

I appreciate the honesty & focus on doing better. If only more brands had this as a core pillar!

Laurence
Laurence

August 19, 2020

As I informed you my printed Kilo bag arrived split along the seam with a nice rattle of coffee beans inside the box! The plain 250G survived. Does this happen very often because oddly the delivery box did not appear damaged/

Andrew
Andrew

August 19, 2020

Love the wee bag clips. Take them into work and reuse them 😊

CW
CW

August 19, 2020

Great explanation of the issues that companies are faced with when trying to be responsible in this very woke world.
Personally love your coffee and not particularly fussed about what bag or pack it comes in. I like the card and clip as I can show the card off to remind what beans are in the hopper.

Rebecca Bartleet
Rebecca Bartleet

August 19, 2020

I don’t hate the clips, but we have just got so many of them now, more than can ever possibly be reused.

What about giving an address (or even better a Freepost label) so that people can send them back to you to be reused? You could put a minimum quantity of 50 so people weren’t sending them back in ones and twos.

James
James

August 19, 2020

Hi Rave,
I have loved your coffee from the start and continue to do so but I find the ‘new’ clip, card and crossed out writing on the packet all a bit of a waste of time and rather off-putting. I much prefer the simplicity of the previous approach. I support finding more sustainable packaging but not at the expense of clips, cards and now having now to write the name of the coffee on the front when it arrives!

Maurice
Maurice

August 19, 2020

Clips come in very useful for preschool craft projects needing a glue clamp!

Mark
Mark

August 19, 2020

I love your packaging style, it is what attracted me to Rave. I use the clips to hold the little cards above each grinder to show what is in each hopper as I have 2 grinders on the go. Admire what you are trying to do, keep up the good work!!

CP
CP

August 19, 2020

Thanks for the update! I really like the current style of bag. I rotate my beans in the grinder and the removable name tags are really good for showing what’s in at the moment and for me to save when I find a bean I want to get again.

The clips, so useful around the house, closing up spice bags, crisp and snack packs, in the office even in my workshop to hold up paper when I spray plastic models or need to secure down some sheeting on my workshop table!

Keep it up!!

David Shaw
David Shaw

August 19, 2020

Perhaps allow customers an option – do you need a bag to last beyond the delivery? I don’t – beans go straight into an Airscape or the hopper. This could reduce the need for a valve for some and allow a cheaper and more enviro friendly solution (albeit a PITA operationally). Just a thought

Phil
Phil

August 19, 2020

Great approach to something that can be a bit of a minefield!

Having worked for an organisation that is currently looking into packaging I can relate to the frustration of understanding what is best when even those selling the materials often don’t know what they have.

Thanks for the honesty

Anthony Tempest
Anthony Tempest

August 19, 2020

It’s refreshing to see a company being transparent in their communications with respect to environmentally friendly/eco-friendly/sustainable/any other buzzword that people use to greenwash their products these days. I remember receiving the oxo-degradable bags and being upset, not at Rave necessarily, but at the manufacturers and downstream distributors selling this packaging without understanding the true impact on the environment. Needless to say, oxo-degradables are one of the worst offenders and even biodegradables are a concern as what exactly does it biodegrade into? I’m glad to see that recyclable bags are being used as in the long run – assuming they are disposed of correctly – it’s one of the best ways to go with our current recycling infrastructure!

Best of luck with the search for compostable packaging as that too has it’s own pitfalls, loving the coffee and the communications!

Huzaifah
Huzaifah

August 19, 2020

Hi, Firstly thank you for actually trying to make a difference.

however those clips will be missed. Ive used every single one of them around the office in some way or another. Example. i have used 4 of them to hold the bed of my 3d Printer down (thats what they are commonly used for), and we used a tonne for our client folders.

We usually buy them but the ones we had from our coffee orders would lie around the office and eventually get used.

Anyways thanks for trying to make a difference.

Simon Garrett
Simon Garrett

August 19, 2020

I’d be less concerned about the bag and remove all the other Printed cardboard crap that comes in the box. Love the coffee though!!

Angelika
Angelika

August 19, 2020

Hi,
Re. packaging: have you considered tins? They might be more expensive, but could be reused for spices, dry goods, as flower pots etc.

Chris Sayles
Chris Sayles

August 19, 2020

Hi Rave – Great to read this update on your packaging, its refreshing to see a company actively trying to find more sustainable ways to package their products! xx

Philip Bennett
Philip Bennett

August 19, 2020

You’ve really upset the wife now, she loves the clips

Nicola Keef
Nicola Keef

August 19, 2020

I order from you regularly but usually as a ‘guest’ so I’m sure you don’t have much record of me. I was happy with your packaging but thank you taking they I’m to explain anyway. And for keeping going so cheerfully. Nicky

Richard hadfield
Richard hadfield

August 19, 2020

The boxed delivery is a pain as it doesn’t fit the letterbox! Previous deliveries in flexipack without brewing instructions every month much preferred.

Joel
Joel

August 19, 2020

I would say that the current plain bag has a weaker zip than the printed ones. That is my only issue with them. It would be nice to go back to a printed bag to do away with the extra card and clip. (Although I am finding uses for the clips and they give a nice trendy look)

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