Last year, Percol became the first coffee brand to receive the ‘Plastic Free Trust Mark’, having already been the first coffee brand to gain Fair Trade approval. We spoke to Percol’s Ollie Richmond to find out more…

Give us a brief history of Percol?

“Percol is a brand with a great story. We are proud to have been pioneering ethics and sustainability since we started in 1987. We were the first ground coffee to earn the Fair Trade mark and the first to offer organic Arabica. We have a long history of making sure the people and environments that grow our coffee are supported, respected and protected. We’re now proud to launch the world’s first plastic-free packaging for ground, beans & coffee bags.” 

Where can people buy Percol coffee?

“Percol coffee is available to buy in all major Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Co-op, Holland & Barrett, Asda and Morrisons stores across the UK, as well as online via Ocado and Amazon.  You’ll also find us in many small, independent and zero waste stores.”

Tell us about your supply chain?

“We source our coffee from all across the globe, from Central and South America, to Africa, to India.  We offer a range of single origin coffees as well as delicious blends.  All of our products are either Fairtrade or Rainforest Alliance certified, and many are organic.  This guarantees the farmers a fair price, decent working conditions, and adequate training.  It also helps protect biodiversity and natural resources and ensures our coffee is grown using eco-friendly practices. 

We roast our Ground, Beans and Coffee Bag products in the UK, ensuring that the freshest coffee is delivered to the supermarket shelf or your doorstep.”

Summarise your range for us?

“The Percol portfolio comprises a range of Ground (6), Beans (1), Coffee Bags (3), Iced Coffee (3) and Instant coffees (8).”

Tell us about your plastic free status?

“At the end of 2018 we launched our ground, beans and coffee bags in plastic free, home compostable foil – our response to the 100 million non-recyclable packs of ground and beans are produced and used in the UK each year. 

As part of the launch we were the first coffee brand to receive the official Plastic Free Trust Mark from A Plastic Planet (APP).  The Plastic Free Trust Mark sits proudly on the front of pack and allows customers to easily buy plastic free and guilt free. 

Our innovative packaging is made from a blend of compostable polymers, derived from a range of natural products such as paper, plant fibres and eucalyptus wood pulp. The paper used is made from FSC, PEFC accredited pulp, and for every tree felled at least one more is grown. The cellulose used is made from sustainably grown eucalyptus trees from managed plantations. 

Having the Plastic Free Trust Mark allows us to communicate these positive packaging credentials in a clear way to consumers.”

Why have no other brands yet achieved this?

“Packaging coffee is very difficult as it requires high barrier protection from oxygen and moisture, so it’s not as simple as putting the coffee in a brown paper bag. 

Other brands typically pack ground and beans in multi-layered, mixed material foil. Unable to be recycled, these packs either get incinerated or end up in landfill and natural ecosystems for hundreds of years. 

The innovative home compostable foil which we’ve used at Percol can cost up to 5 times as much as the standard plastic, so this is often the biggest barrier for brands.  Percol made the decision to absorb this extra cost and not pass this on to our customers.  Our Fairtrade, Organic, Carbon Neutral and Plastic Free ground coffees typically retail for between £4-£4.25 in supermarkets.”

How can your items currently be disposed of or recycled?

“The pack is certified home compostable and will break down in less than 26 weeks in home compost and 12 weeks in industrial compost.  The packaging breaks down into water, carbon dioxide and biomass.  Once broken down it can be used as a soil improver.”

For more on Percol’s full range and it’s packaging, see here – Ed.

Are you working towards all of your products being fully plastic free and home compostable? What else is next for Percol?

“Our immediate priority is to make all our packaging reusable, easily recyclable or home compostable by the end of 2019. 

We’re almost there! Compostable plays an important role in providing an end of life solution for non-recyclable soft plastics.  With our instant range, we are moving to plastic free, widely recycled (tin or glass), rather than compostable.”

You can find us on Facebook by searching for Plastic Free Home or at http://www.facebook.com/plasticfreehomeuk.

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