Cardboard is a burden on all of us. It may be a cost-effective way to make sure coffee reaches our wholesale customers in excellent condition, but we’ve always been looking for a better way. We have a number of targeted initiatives in place that reduce our dependency (such as switching customers on our local, London delivery routes to reusable plastic crates), but we’ve long wanted to be able to make a true step-change in the amount of cardboard we use.
Excitingly, we’re now at that point, as, over the past year, we’ve been working with a company called Notbox to develop a range of collapsible, reusable and rugged replacements for our regular cardboard delivery boxes. These will allow us to vastly reduce the amount of cardboard we, and our wholesale customers use, as they can be flat packed, and returned to us in batches for reuse.
After running a trial with a pair of cafes to test the boxes, we’re thrilled to roll the program out to a broader audience of between 20 and 40 of our accounts, meaning your local Square Mile cafe can now start receiving deliveries in Notboxes.
From our testing so far, we expect to get between fifteen and twenty uses out of each Notbox. To put that in context, for a 30kg delivery of coffee to one of our accounts, we’d typically use 2.52kg of cardboard packaging. That means that even at the lowest end of our durability expectations, each box would replace over 37kg of cardboard in its lifetime!
The boxes themselves are made from polyester wrapped around low-density fibreboard walls, and when they wear out, we’ll be able to recycle the polyester outers, just as you can old polyester clothing.
When we recycle an outer, we’ll keep and reuse the leftover boards to fix and repair worn or damaged boxes and we’re also actively looking for ways to upcycle them, so if you think you could use some, please get in touch! Happily, significant strides are being made in the area of fibreboard recycling, so we’re looking forward to being able to recycle the boards in the future too.
This is the only program like this we know of, and in the long-term, we plan to expand it out further and offer all of our wholesale accounts the option to receive deliveries in Notboxes. This will allow us to massively reduce the amount of cardboard we send out, meaning a reduced environmental footprint for both us, our customers and, importantly, your morning coffee.
If you’re a Square Mile wholesale customer and haven’t heard about our Notbox program already, you may not be signed up to receive our Wholesale emails. Even if you have received wholesale emails in the past, it may be necessary to opt-in again since we made our GDPR changes. You can register your interest in Notboxes and find out how to subscribe to our wholesale emails by contacting us at [email protected].