The circular economy pilot initiated by K Group, Paulig and Globe Hope last summer has now concluded. In the pilot, empty coffee packages found a new life as recycled design products and, during autumn 2019, a whopping 25,000 empty packages were collected. The popularity of the collection pilot was a positive surprise, and the experiences gained from the pilot encourage continuing to work to find sustainable reuse solutions.

The joint circular economy pilot of K Group, Paulig and Globe Hope that was initiated in June 2019 has now concluded. The pilot encouraged consumers to return their empty coffee packages for use as raw materials for accessories made of recycled materials. Coffee packages were collected during the autumn in the K Supermarkets in Nummela, Lohja Lempola, Karkkila, Vihti and Veikkola, from where the empty packages were delivered to Globe Hope.

In six months, a whopping 25,000 coffee packages were collected.

It was great to see how eager consumers were to return their empty coffee packages to the shops’ recycling bins. We received more material than we expected. I want to thank everyone who participated in the recycling pilot,” says Kati Kyllönen, Marketing Manager at Paulig. She continues:

Many people were also interested in the correct way of recycling coffee packages. Many consumers were delighted to hear that all Paulig coffee packages can be sorted in plastic recycling bins.”

Coffee packages transformed into unique accessories

During the autumn, used coffee packages were transformed into eight different recycled design products, which entered the market at the end of 2019. Currently, there is a limited, while-stocks-last selection of the products on sale in the K-Supermarkets included in the pilot. You can also buy the recycled design products nationally from Paulig's online store.

“The diverse product selection includes, for instance, a clutch bag, a durable tote bag, a pencil case and a wallet, so the range has products for many different tastes and needs,” says Kyllönen.

“Rare coffee packages with older designs have also been utilised in the recycled products, which means that some products are really unique and one-of-a-kind,” adds Kyllönen.

What next?

The collection of used coffee packages in K-Supermarkets is now over. From now on, all empty Paulig coffee packages can be sorted as plastic recycling or, if no plastic recycling is available, as normal mixed waste, which will be used in energy production. The laminated coffee package material is also durable material for DIY projects. 

The experiences gained from the pilot encourage continuing to work to find sustainable recovery solutions.

“Like K Group and Globe Hope, we are putting great emphasis on the circular economy in our operations, and we are proud that we got to carry out the first coffee package collection pilot in Finland with these partners. The idea of the collection pilot worked well on a small scale but, if it became national, the challenges would include the large volume of the raw material and its further processing. This means that the development will continue,” says Kyllönen. She continues:

“We have also utilised renewable raw materials in coffee packages. Paulig is the first coffee business in the world that has introduced renewable raw materials in vacuum packaging, and we are constantly increasing the use of recycled materials in all our coffee packages. Currently, over 50 per cent of some of our coffee packages are made of renewable materials, and we are currently investigating how these renewable, plant-based materials can be recycled even more efficiently into new products."

Read also: Energetic start to Finland’s first coffee package recycling pilot: more than 10,000 collected coffee packages

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