Quick Recycling Tip: How to Recycle Plastic and Paper Coffee Bags

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This post is part of an attempt to do something like 100 recycling tips for damn near anything in something close to, anyway, 100 days. We’ll see how that goes. When the 100 Recycling Tips are all published here on Easy Ways to Go Green, we’ll do a master list so that every link exists on one single page for everyone to be able to link over to, or to use as a reference guide when questions on how to recycle different things in your life inevitably come up.

How to Recycle 100 Common Things: #11 Used Plastic and Paper Coffee Bags

How to Recycle Used Plastic and Paper Coffee Bags

How to Recycle Used Plastic and Paper Coffee Bags

This is another post that may signal to you A)it’s time to change a little habit, or B)it’s time to start composting as part of an overall plan to recycling everything possible in your life.

Coffee bags are today’s focus, and again — you might be saying, another coffee-related post?! To which we respond, of course — if you’re going to start recycling or expand your already healthy habit, then it makes the most sense to figure out how and where to recycle the stuff you use the most. Plastic bags, coffee cups and Java Jackets, tin foil, etc. So today, it’s paper and plastic coffee bags. Here’s the breakdown:

  • White Paper Coffee Bags (tend to be bleached to an extent, and the process involves a toxic series of steps. Best to avoid — can also have a coating of clay applied).
  • Brown unbleached Paper Coffee Bags (typically bought from the grocery store, from Starbucks or from local coffee roasters — can be composted, re-used, or in some cases, returned to the coffee shop from where they were originally purchased. These bags can be lined (with plastic) or unlined — clearly, the less materials the better, and for composting, avoid the plastic).
  • Plastic (in many cases, these bags are actually foil on the outside, and lined with plastic on the inside. Best to go with the unlined brown paper bags, or as an alternative, re-use these bags to know when you’ve measured out exactly a pound; take your coffee home and store it in an airtight container like a jam or Kerr jar, and then just store your one bag under the sink to be used on your next trip).

Coffee is an inherently “unstable” item that will break down when exposed to moisture or air, thus the plastic lining within the coffee bags, for freshness. Remember that this plastic lining means you CANNOT recycle these coffee bags with regular paper in the paper recycling bins.

Helpful Links on Recycling Used Paper or Plastic or Foil Coffee Bags:
Check out eHOW for simple coffee bag recycling instructions.

Breaking down the bags themselves, in an article on Bean Activist.

An article on Dollar Store Crafts talks about a clever way to make a “used coffee bag purse.”

Associated Content article on how to recycle old coffee bags made of paper or plastic.

Info from Starbucks on recycling their coffee bags.

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