It’s estimated that 18,000 single-serve coffee pods are discarded every minute. In fact, lined up, the pods that are thrown away each year could circle the Earth more than 10 times.
It’s a problem that many are working hard to address, but you probably wouldn’t have guessed that Green Day guitarist/frontman Billie Joe Armstrong and bassist Mike Dirnt are among them. The duo own Oakland, California-based Oakland Coffee Works, and through a partnership with the San Francisco Bay Coffee Company, have brought to market organic coffee in bags and single-serve pods crafted from compostable materials.
The compostable bags will hit the shelves of Bay Area Costco stores and become available on Amazon.com starting October 28. The pods will follow on November 15. The hope is that their availability will expand to other stores in 2017, inspire like-minded others in the coffee business and help move the needle when it comes to coffee-related waste.
If you think that Oakland Coffee Works is just using Armstrong and Dirnt’s celebrity status as multi-platinum, Grammy-winning and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees to push this sustainable initiative, you’d be mistaken. Dirnt particularly has been 100 percent involved in a hands-on manner every step of the way. He also happens to be extremely well-versed in packaging technology.
“First there was coffee, then there was second-wave coffee, like Starbucks, and then came the third wave with artisanal coffee,” Dirnt says. “This is the next step – organic, truly high-quality coffee that fairly supports the farmers who grow it and that comes in packing made from compostable materials. It’s no-compromise coffee and packaging.”
What’s more is that the coffee packaging isn’t just great for the environment, but it has all the benefits of conventional petroleum-based bags in terms of keeping the product fresh.
Creating this packaging, however, wasn’t done overnight. According to John Rogers, owner of San Francisco Bay Coffee Company, it took about 5 years’ worth of R&D and over $2 million to develop the compostable pod and bag packaging.
“Our goal is to influence the rest of the industry to adopt it too,” Rogers says. “Mike and Billie wanted to do the same thing, so we partnered so we could really make an impact.”
While most likely associate Armstrong and Dirnt for the award-winning, critically-acclaimed music and energized live show that they’ve excelled at with drummer Tre Cool since Green Day’s founding in 1986, coffee, sustainability and packaging happen to be other labors of love.
“We want consumers to have a choice that doesn’t require a compromise,” Dirnt says. “We want to make great coffee that supports farmworkers and makes sustainable packaging accessible to everyone, without pushing the added costs on to our consumers. By riding the fourth wave with us, we can all enjoy great, quality coffee that gives more people a choice toward a sustainable future.”
Oakland Coffee Works
San Francisco Bay Coffee Company