Coffee sacks, chaff & grounds - how we reuse and recycle waste created by roasting coffee
Coffee sacks, chaff & grounds - how we reuse and recycle waste created by roasting coffee
November 23, 2023

Here at Argyll Coffee Roasters we’re always looking at ways to lower our environmental impact. But there’s no getting away from the fact that a lot of waste is produced in the coffee industry, from the bags that the green coffee bean arrive in to the ‘chaff’ that we’re left with after roasting coffee. 


So we’ve been looking at the different ways we can re-use and re-purpose some of this waste. While these actions are in no way world-changing, they’re small steps to reducing what ends up in landfill. 



First off is chaff. This is the epidermis of coffee beans that falls off during roasting process. This collects in a chaff-collecting bucket that’s attached to the roaster and we produce loads of it on a busy week. 


It’s light and airy and is good to mix in with compost. It’s also rich in nitrogen, so compost made with chaff is great for enriching your soil. 


A discovery that we made recently is that chaff makes excellent bedding for chickens. A number of people who keep chickens locally are using our chaff in their chicken coops. We imagine it could work for rabbits and guinea pigs too. 


Coffee Grounds

We don’t produce a lot of coffee grounds, but the ones we do go straight in the compost! The grounds are rich in nitrogen, phosphorus, and also help improve soil structure - so all in all are great for the garden. They’re also great for skincare products. Our friends at Argyll Botany make an amazing range of potions and lotions using our grounds. 


Coffee sacks 

Our green coffee beans arrive in big hessian sacks, and they often have cool patterns and designs on them. As well as being handy for storing tatties, creative locals have made them into everything from bags to cushions. Our local community woodland has also used them when planting young trees - apparently they’re good for keeping the roots damp. 


The Coffee Bird sacks from Guatemala are our favourite. They’re made with recycled denim from Guatemalan denim factories and look great. They’re particularly good for upholstering furniture. 


We keep the empty sacks up at the roastery so get in touch if you ever want some! The Coffee Bird ones are always in high demand though. 


Within the hessian sack the green beans are held in a Grainpro bag, which are water resistant and airtight. We re-use these as our bin bags but we’re open to other ideas! 


The coffee sacks arrive on wooden pallets, which are always snaffled up quickly by locals for various projects.


So in the spirit of re-using and recycling, we’ve come up with a festive idea! Come along to our Coffee Bar at Hayshed Gallery on Saturday 2nd December to make a Christmas stocking using our sacks. Our resident artist Inge will be on hand to help with a pattern and accessories from 1pm to 3pm. 

See you there.