The Powerful Second Life for Coffee Bean Burlap Sacks

“Sustainability” is a broad term, used by a number of businesses because it can mean many different things. For some foodservice operators, being a sustainable business means offering compostable cups and lids. For others, it might mean finding creative ways to use food scraps that would otherwise be thrown away or it could mean paying every employee a generous wage.

Here at S&D, we use the word “sustainability” a lot too because it’s at the core of everything we do. As a company that relies on and provides for so many other operations around the world, it’s important for us to make large and small changes where we can. One of those changes was to find creative ways to upcycle our burlap coffee sacks.

When green coffee is transported from origin to our roasting facility in North Carolina, most of it comes in burlap sacks. Looking at the sheer volume of the bags, it was clear to us early on that we needed to find a second home for these bags — one that wasn’t the landfill. We’re also committed to limiting on-road fuel consumption, so it made the most sense to work with operations that could handle receiving large quantities of burlap bags at once.

Today, we’re proud to donate many of our used burlap coffee sacks to these three partners.

Lomax Farm

It’s important for us to give back to our local community, which is why S&D is happy to partner with the Elma C. Lomax Incubator Farm, a certified-organic farm in Concord, N.C. providing training opportunities for students and young farmers. In addition to receiving spent coffee grounds from our extract facilities (for improving soil and compost quality), the farm uses S&D’s burlap coffee sacks to prevent soil erosion.

Steve’s Burlap Sacks

Along the Gulf Coast, our used burlap coffee bags support a small business and provide a much-needed product for oyster operations. Through his business, Steve Airhart supplies the bags to oyster fisherman to contain the daily catch on oyster boats through his company, Steve’s Burlap Sacks.

Sackcloth & Ashes

At Climb’s Roast Coffee in Charlotte, N.C., the motto is “coffee with a cause.” The small-batch roaster can now say the same for our used coffee bags, since owners Chip and Cheery Furr found a way to repurpose S&D’s used burlap coffee sacks into merchandise that benefits victims of human trafficking in their state.

Inspired by the unique stampings on our burlap sacks (indicating the coffee’s origin), they came up with seven upcycled burlap bag designs including a messenger bag, beach bag and zipper pouch. The Furrs then found a local manufacturing partner who employs victims of human trafficking to assemble the products. The bags — each one unique due to the variety of burlap sacks they receive — are sold for a profit at Climb’s as well as other small retailers, and the proceeds are donated to a local organization that provides safety and support to victims.

As an S&D partner, our sustainability mission is your sustainability mission, and these are just three of the stories we hope you’re proud to share with your customers both in-store and online.