First Press Coffee has made the transition to landfill-biodegradable products from local eco-conscious company Biogone, which it says is “a huge relief”.

First Press Coffee founders James Elias and Hamish Walmsley .
First Press Coffee founders James Elias and
Hamish Walmsley .

The Melbourne-based coffee manufacturer and distributor, which has been creating bottled cold brew coffee products since 2013, said it has been “guilt-ridden” about the plastic wraps it had been using, which would ultimately end up in landfill.

The First Press Coffee cold brew coffee products range includes straight cold brew coffee, plant-based iced coffee and an espresso martini range that First Press Coffee wholesales, not only locally, but to several countries worldwide.

With its mantra to bring moments of inspiration and joy to the world's coffee drinkers, extending to the elements in the journey and delivery of its products, First Press Coffee became conscious of the way its pallets were wrapped for distribution.

Now using Biogone’s landfill-biodegradable pallet wrap and its other products like its packaging tape, First Press Coffee says it can wrap its products securely, to deliver to hundreds of its outlets, with a “clear conscience”.

“The team had spent a lot of time trying to find a company to take our soft plastics that we receive into the warehouse, however, we felt guilt-ridden about the wrappings stock that was going out knowing it was probably going to end up in landfill,” said Hamish Walmsley, head of operations and co-founder.

“Having initially discovered the Biogone pallet tape at Officeworks, I swiftly purchased a six-pack which lasted a week. I decided to explore Biogone’s website, and I was blown away by the array of products on offer. Since then, I have been transitioning everything possible over to Biogone.

“At First Press Coffee, we know we can’t solve the global problems, but we can at least stand by what we believe in and try to work with the environment we live in and maybe be as loud as possible where we can,” he said, adding, “We try as hard as we can to do the right thing by the environment, within the realms of what we can control and sometimes what we can afford."

“For instance, if I could afford it, I would love to put solar on the entire roof in an instant. However, it isn't viable for a business of our size to pay upfront unless we have government subsidies, which will hopefully happen in the future. There are areas where we can have an impact today, like where we source our products and what we put into landfills. So having a solution to switch to landfill biodegradable plastics is a no-brainer and something I jumped on the moment I could,” he said.

Walmsley says he has three pieces of advice for companies who want to amplify their sustainable message and action plan.

“Firstly, keep asking questions. I spent 18 months, from 2018, trying to find someone that could take our soft plastics to the point we had about 30 x 240L bins worth filling up the warehouse. After speaking to more than 20 people and getting similar responses of either, ‘No that doesn't happen in Australia’ or ‘Keep looking but sadly not yet,’ I found someone who was recycling soft plastics. It was a journey and I am very glad I stuck it out but if I had listened to the first person, I would have never found a solution and we would have put tons more plastics into landfill.

“Secondly, set an intention. Something might not be possible today but put it in a plan/goal. For instance, we know we can’t walk away from plastic today, but we have an intention to when it's functionally possible as new technology becomes available then we can action that.

“And finally, speak out. You might not be able to make the biggest impact but your voice is strong and you never know who you might influence in the quest to get a circular economy.”

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