I’ve never understood why up until now it’s been so difficult to find plastic-free instant coffee. Most instant coffee is sold in jars with plastic lids – why not switch the plastic lid to a metal lid and the job’s done?
Thankfully, one instant coffee brand has taken the initiative and switched to plastic-free packaging: Little’s Coffee.
Little’s Coffee is a small independent family business, selling 100% Arabica coffee, and they are proud to now be 100% plastic-free. Spearheaded by husband and wife duo Henry and Leila Little 25 years ago, the business is now run by their son, Will Little, and his wife, Caroline. By taking the lead on removing plastic from their jars of instant coffee, this small company is definitely leagues ahead of the big boys of coffee.
Their delicious range of instant coffee is all packaged in glass jars with 100% aluminum lids, both of which materials, unlike plastic, can be infinitely recycled, which is much better for the environment.
Rather than popping mine in the appropriate recycling bins once I’ve finished my coffee, I’m planning on recycling my Little’s jars in different ways. Call me a geek, but I do like a good jar, and Little’s jars look so very good. I have plans to use them either in my kitchen for food storage, or for health & beauty DIYs, before recycling them appropriately at the end of their lives.
Of course, it’s not just all about the packaging. The plastic-free packaging is all well and good but the coffee has to taste good too. Thankfully, Little’s delivers above and beyond on this point. The 100% Arabica coffee is gently brewed with no nasties to deliver a smooth and tasty single blend plastic-free instant coffee that’s available in both caffeinated and decaffeinated options.
Their decaf coffee is made still using the best quality 100% Arabica coffee and decaffeinated using a gentle CO2 process. This process retains all the coffee’s great natural taste, without the use of chemicals that are used in solvent-based decaffeination processes.
Flavoured Instant Coffee
As well as standard coffee, Little’s star of the show is their flavour infused instant coffees, which has evolved to suit peoples busy lifestyles. Available in a wide range of flavours – from Cardamom Bun, to Gingerbread Cookie, to Irish Cream flavoured coffee – I counted 13 different flavours of plastic-free coffee to choose from, all modestly priced between £2.99 and £3.20 a jar.
To be honest, I’ve never been a big fan of flavoured coffees, finding the taste of coffee syrups too sweet, and the process of measuring out sticky syrups being a bit of a faff. I was surprised to find that Little’s range of pre-flavoured coffee (again, available in caffeinated and decaffeinated) has no added sugar. This means their coffee hits the spot without the intense sugary sweetness that coffee syrups often have, and can be whipped up in the same time it takes to make a cup of regular coffee.
I bought some Chocolate Caramel coffee and some Island Coconut coffee and both make great pick-me-ups to combat the 2 pm post-lunch slump. At only 4 calories a cup, the coffee is better for you than raiding the biscuit tin for that chocolate hit! Needless to say, I’ve got jar of Little’s at work now to help keep me out of the biscuit tin.
Without being overly sweet, the Chocolate Caramel coffee smells and to me tastes just like tiramisu – my partner hates all coffee but even he conceded that the coffee smelled delicious. A world first, let me tell you! The Island Coconut coffee is not too dissimilar to a Bounty bar, which is a very good thing in my book. It’s a great way to liven up your coffee!
Where to Buy Little’s Plastic-Free Coffee
Little’s Coffee is available across the UK and is stocked in Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Ocado, Holland & Barrett, Dobbies Garden Centres, Booths, Whole Foods Market, Selfridges & Co, and Harvey Nichols.
Little’s also has an online shop if you can’t find a jar near you. I ordered my coffee from their online shop and was delighted to find that it shipped in a cardboard box sealed with paper tape – no plastic to be found – not even a shred of bubble wrap.
If you’re shopping online too, Little’s Coffee has kindly set up a discount code for Moral Fibres readers: use the discount code MORALFIBRES10 at the checkout of the Little’s Coffee webshop for 10% off your order.
Something that many of us have been asking ourselves is just how to go plastic-free.
Thankfully Caroline Jones, author of How to Go Plastic Free* (affiliate link) which has recently been published through Carlton Books, is here today. She haa great guest post on some of the ways that she is going plastic-free, as well as some great ideas for us.
Take it away Caroline!
My New Year’s resolution this year – and one I hope to keep going long past January – has been to try extra hard to cut down on my plastic waste. Having spent a big chunk of last year researching and writing my book entitled: How to Go Plastic Free, I realised that even though I’m an avid recycler and plastic avoider, there’s still a lot more I could be doing to make a difference.
But what’s the problem with plastic?
Over the last 100 years, global plastic usage has grown from zero to the point where humanity now produces its own weight in plastic every single year. That’s a shocking 300 million tons of plastic. With only 10 percent of it recycled.
But from polluting oceans to filling up landfills for decades without decomposing, the devastating impact plastic has on our planet is now well documented. Yet with our daily life so dependent on a vast variety of plastic products, making the shift to living a life without plastic is undoubtedly a real challenge.
It’s easy to think that one person using less plastic isn’t going to save the world. However, personal commitment is how all positive change begins. One person inspires another, and then another. Before long a ripple becomes a wave of change that can remake our world for the better. Both for our own future and for many generations to come.
How To Go Plastic-Free
Here are the 5 changes I’ve started making this year to significantly reduce my plastic waste footprint…
1. Saying no to single use plastics – for good
This stuff is everywhere! Often in the form of food packaging, it includes any plastic that’s used just once and then thrown away or recycled. Because it’s so convenient, single-use plastic has seeped into every corner of our lives. However, the negative impact it has on the environment is so immense we really need to reduce our reliance on it.
It’s so easy to buy a drink in a plastic bottle and a plastic-wrapped sandwich every lunchtime. And then carry them out of the shop in a plastic bag. All of which is used for just a couple of minutes before being discarded forever.
Yet the huge amount of plastic needed to supply this takeaway lunch habit is terrifying. Even if only 15 percent of the world did this daily throughout their working life that’s over 2400 billion batches of discarded lunchtime plastic. It’s impossible to escape the consequences of throwing away such vast quantities of a material that takes hundreds of years to break down. And while some single-use plastics items, such as plastic bottles, can be recycled, many can’t. Which makes them the worst form of plastic used today. Hands down.
So, if there is a significant change to sign up to right away, it’s ditching single-use plastic that can’t be recycled. Here are the top ten worst offenders that I’m planning to cut out for good this year.
Ready meal trays
Pet food pouches
Plastic drinking straws
‘Foilised’ (metallic) wrapping paper
2. Making my own bubbles
If you love sparkling water, as we do in our family, it could be time to invest in a SodaStream*. This Eighties favourite has recently been repositioned as an eco-product. Using it to add bubbles to tap water means you can finally do away with plastic bottles of fizzy water, or having to carry heavy glass bottles back from the shop.
Some models actually come with their own glass bottles to store your newly carbonated water in. Better still, it can save you money! Each gas canister (which can be refilled) makes up to 60 litres of water for around £13. With the leading sparkling water brand costing around £1 for a 1-litre bottle, you can get nearly 5 litres of SodaStream fizzy for a similar price. We’ve not stopped using ours since it arrived!
3. Getting to know my local milkman
Supermarket milk comes in plastic bottles. However, you’ll want to avoid these when you’re trying to go plastic-free. Shops also sell milk in cardboard containers. This may seem like a good option, but most are actually coated inside and out with a thin plastic layer. This makes them a mixed material item and therefore almost impossible to recycle.
This means your best is going old school and using a local milkman. Most people in the UK did up until the last 30 or so years. The good news is that home-delivered milk is making a resurgence. As such, most areas have dairies that deliver locally, providing milk in returnable, reusable glass bottles. I found my local one online and have signed up.
4. Quit my coffee pod habit
The capsules used in nearly all popular single-serve coffee machines contain plastic and are notoriously bad for the environment as they can’t generally be recycled. One option is to source biodegradable options, such as Halo, which make compostable pods compatible with the most popular machines.
But generally speaking, swapping to a machine that uses loose coffee – either ground or whole beans – is the greenest way to go. Then you can seek out smaller, independent coffee shops and delis in your area and take your own jar or tin to fill up. My local shop offers a 10% discount for customers bringing their own containers.
5. Leave my plastic at the supermarket
Finally, if you’re feeling brave and want to make a stand the next time you’re doing your supermarket shop, Greenpeace advises taking some of the plastic packaging you don’t want off the products you do want and leaving it at the checkout. So, I plan to do this from now on!
It might sound scary, but as customers, we are well within our rights to do it – and are actually helping the supermarket to understand what shoppers really want. I also plan to write to the senior management team of my local supermarket to lobby for less plastic packaging. Because the more noise we all make, the sooner we will bring about lasting changes in plastic use.
Thanks Caroline! Caroline’s super book – How To Go Plastic Free* is packed full of easy eco tips and actions on how to live with fewer plastics, no matter how busy your life is, and is out now. Even if you can’t eliminate all plastics, Caroline offers great tips on picking better options.
I'm Wendy and welcome to Moral Fibres, a UK based eco blog. I'm a sustainability expert, and my aim is to make sustainability simple, by researching and writing on all things environmental - from product guides to breaking down big ideas - so you don't have to.
As well as the blog I've also written a book on natural cleaning - Fresh Clean Home is out now!
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