Caribou’s Newest Gift Card Holders: An Environmentally-Friendly Paper Made From Recycled Coffee Bean Bags

ST. LOUIS, MO September 17, 2013 — Caribou Coffee is the latest premium company to embrace Kona Paper™, the environmentally-friendly paper made from recycled coffee bean bags. The Minneapolis-based coffee retailer began using the unique eco-paper in mid-August for their gift card holders as tangible proof of Caribou’s commitment to the environment. According to Michele Vig, Caribou’s VP of Marketing, “We have worked hard to ensure our guests not only receive the highest quality coffee but also the peace of mind that we strive to source products such as Kona Paper that are environmentally, socially and economically sustainable.”
A new, patented 100% recycled post-consumer waste paper made in the USA, Kona Paper consists of a blend of repurposed coffee bean bag fiber (CBBF) and post-consumer waste. Not only does using Kona Paper help create heightened consumer awareness of the coffee industry’s environmental efforts, but more importantly, it recycles waste stream materials, reduces carbon footprints, and conserves timber resources.
According to St. Louis entrepreneur Ted Gast, who developed the Kona Paper concept, the idea for the unusual product began during the summer of 2009 when a local coffee roaster practically begged him and Kelly Stewart, his business partner, to take the company’s mounting supply of used burlap bags so they wouldn’t have to landfill all the bags. After some serious brainstorming, Ted stated that he and Kelly finally decided to do “something sustainable and simple; a cradle-to-cradle project.” Many months later, after conducting numerous experiments, the George A. Whiting Paper Company finally perfected Kelly and Ted’s papermaking ideas by introducing Kona Paper.
So in true “rags (or more accurately, bags) to riches” fashion, the two eco-inventors have done just that, turning largely landfill-destined, essentially discarded burlap bag scrap material into a value-added, innovative green paper product that benefits both business and the environment. As for the waste stream paper’s distinctive Hawaiian name, Ted says simply that he “decided to call the paper Kona after the great American coffee grown in Hawaii.”
Ted firmly believes that Kona Paper will be viewed as a dynamic waste stream solution to what has become an increasingly complex waste problem to coffee roasters: What can you do with something like discarded coffee bean bags that are no longer useful in their current condition, have strong reuse potential, but aren’t readily being recycled to maximize the bag’s repurposed value potential.
Kona Paper responds to this growing concern by achieving a virtually unmatched level of “closed loop” recycling that efficiently captures coffee bean bag waste. With estimates of up to 10 million coffee bean bags entering the United States annually, there’s certainly no shortage of burlap bags waiting to be transformed into a printable paper that’s versatile, eco-friendly, and looks good, too. Produced in weights ranging from 45 lb. Text to 100 lb. Cover. Kona Paper has many practical applications in the coffee marketplace from gift card holders and bags to marketing materials, POP displays, coasters, and cup sleeves. Kona Paper is stocked in the following colors: Dark Roast, Natural, and Lite Roast. Custom colors as well as several distinctive embossed finishes are also available.
Call Greg Johnson at (312) 203-2299 or visit for more product details and free samples.

Suggested Reading