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Welcome at Back to Black, we ship every Tuesday and Thursday. Free shipping above €25 in The Netherlands.

Sustainable Entrepeneurship

For the import of our green (unroasted) coffee beans, we select our importers carefully. Our importers stimulate farmers in different ways to farm more sustainable, by paying higher prices for better-produced coffees or by advising about harvesting, processing and storing the coffee at location. Two of our selected partners who do an awesome job and are based in the Netherlands are:

This Side Up

Cultivar

For us, it’s very important to make every step in the process from cherry till cup of coffee as transparent as possible. This way the client is able to get all the information they need about the coffee; we think this might be the most important step towards more sustainable coffee.

The traceability enhances the chance of paying a fair price for the coffee, since the coffee is bought directly from the farmer, without to many middlemen. This way, coffee farms keep developing themselves on both a quality level as well as a sustainability level.

Nowadays we can produce to go cups in a way that they are compostable. Still these single use cups are not the most sustainable solution for your to go coffee. This is why we started the Back Swap Cup project in collaboration with the Circular Coffee Fund.

More and more companies are joining this initiative.

How does it work?

  1. Ask a cafe that’s participating with the black swap cup project for the black swap cup when you order your to go coffee. You will once pay the amount of 5 euros for the cup, covering not only the cost of the cup, but also supporting permaculture and reforestation at coffee farms.
  2. Take your (dirty) cup with you every time you go to a participating cafe to order your to go coffee and the cafe will swap the black cup for a clean one to serve your coffee.

Real circularity means that you make all the residual flows transparent so you can connect them to neutralise them. When you want to make the coffee chain more sustainable, it makes sense to start with using less (or none at all) to go cups. By buying the Black Swap Cup you’re not only consuming sustainability, you’re even supporting the circular coffee fund who invests in permaculture and reforestation at the coffee farms of well known coffee farmers. This way you contribute to the whole coffee chain from the beginning at the coffee farm where the coffee is produced to the end where you enjoy your coffee.

Seenons is a company that identifies valuable residual flows. After payment they collect these valuable residual flows in the most sustainable possible way in order of the ladder below (the Ladder of Lansink).

  1. Back logistics
  2. Cargo bike
  3. Electric vehicle
  4. Garbage truck

Afterwards they connect these residual flows to local companies who process these flows circular into new products. During this process Seenons takes a look at the ladder of Lansink to do this in the best possible way. Only when the highest step is not possible, they look at the step below.

  1. Prevention
  2. Re-use
  3. Recycling
  4. Energy

This process is being repeated until there is only useless waste left. About this useless waste they will have a conversation with the producer to see if they can make this waste circular. This way they want to achieve that in 2025 all residual flows are set on the highest step of the ladder from Lansink.

In a radius of 12km within Amsterdam 206 farmers are producing almost 1,500,000 liters of milk per week. This woulde be enough to provide the whole of Amsterdam. Only 0,5% of this milk is finding its way to the city.

MOMA connects farmers, land and townspeople so they can collaborate and work on a healthier landscape and food supply chain. MOMA processes and brings the locally produced biological dairy to the city and brings ideas back to the farms. MOMA is trying to create a community of owners and gives you a part of the farm landscape. This way, everybody becomes more involved and starts to care more about the farming landscape around Amsterdam.

Coffee Packaging

Green coffee beans are delivered in bags made of jute, inside which you have plastic bags which are called GrainPro bags. We re-use the jute coffee bags, or put them on  Marktplaats so we can send them to people who would like to use them. We send the GrainPro bags to a company called Ephora Solutions, that ships the bags back to the countries where they came from.The bags go in between pallets in a large sea-container, this way you don’t need extra transportation and you don’t have transportation costs.

For the roasted coffee we use coffee buckets to transport the coffee to our bars and our wholesale customers. When the coffee is finished, we bring the buckets back to the roastery, wash them and use them again.

Chaff - Residual product that gets released after roasting green beans

Chaff is the skin of the coffee bean which comes off during the roasting process. This chaff gets collected in the chaff collector of the roaster. Chaff is rich in nutrients. Right now we are bringing our chaff to allotments for them to use for gardening. In most roasteries the chaff is collected by a garbage company that burns the chaff.

We know chaff is nutrient rich, which is why we started a project to see how we can make this product circular.

In the United States a lot of research has already been done concerning chaff. McDonald’s is working together with Ford to use the chaff in the production of car headlights.

Our goal is to make sure that a big coffee roaster in Europe will also pick this up and start a collaboration with a car company here in Europe.

We started  this project with a funding of €25.000,-, which we got from the government for research done by the Dutch University of Applied Sciences Avans. The project is called CoE BBE / Silverskin : sustainable coffee roasting – coffee silverskin biomass utilisation. Once we get some facts on paper, the next step will be to contact the right people at the big companies and see how we can get the companies to follow in the footsteps of McDonald’s and Ford.

MT Packaging

For our coffee packaging we work together with MT Packaging. MT Packaging provides us with eco friendly and 100% recyclable coffee bags which contain low-density polyethylene (LDPE). This is a safe material that can be easily reused and recycled.

The print on the bags is water based (flexographic) ink. This ink has a high water content and low volatile organic compounds (VOC). The ink is resistant to abrasion, water and heat and yet compostable and easily removed during the recycling process.

Bioodi

The eco friendly coffee cups which Bioodi produces are 100% biodegradable.

The biodegradable cups are made of cardboard with a biological layer (PLA) This PLA coating is produced from recyclable materials, in this case glucose. These to go cups with PLA coating are a better alternative for to go cups than the classic to go cup.

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