Cape Town-based coffee pod company 4WKS aims to kickstart sustainability habits in consumers, with its new compostable packaging, and bring about consumer consciousness when it comes to waste.
Cape Town-based coffee pod company 4WKS aims to kickstart sustainability habits in consumers, with its new compostable packaging, and bring about consumer consciousness when it comes to waste.

Cape Town-based coffee pod takes zero-waste approach

By Kristin Engel Time of article published Dec 3, 2021

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Cape Town - With experts calling on individuals and organisations to reduce waste, Cape Town-based coffee pod company 4WKS aimed to kickstart sustainability habits in consumers with its new compostable packaging, and bring about consumer consciousness when it comes to waste.

South Africa is currently experiencing a critical waste challenge, much of which stemmed from unnecessary single-use plastic packaging and, in the Western Cape alone, 4WKS said about three million tonnes of organic waste was produced annually and most of this ended up in landfill, which is increasingly running out of airspace.

In response to this, the Western Cape provincial government passed new legislation this year, requiring a 50% reduction or ban of organic waste from landfills by 2022, and a 100% diversion by 2027.

Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning (DEA and DP) spokesperson Rudolf Van Jaarsveldt said: “By the end of 2027, no organic waste will be allowed to be disposed of at landfills – this is being done in an effort to protect limited available landfill airspace, reduce the environmental impacts of this waste type, and to encourage the beneficiation of organic waste.”

Launched in 2019, 4WKS is a local organisation challenging the wastefulness and unsustainability of single-use plastic and aluminium coffee pods.

“To further reduce the impact of this pollution on the planet and on people, the sustainability-focused company added new compost packaging to its zero-waste approach, while bringing awareness to the often unseen yet critical issue of waste.

4WKS co-founder Lulu Larché said: “Coffee packaging is notoriously wasteful, and we didn’t want to launch just any other packaging. We wanted to use packaging as a vehicle for change, to encourage transparency in the system, and to encourage people — from roasters to coffee lovers — to come together to do better.”

With their 100% compostable zip-lock pouches and paper lids, made from vegetable fibres, 4WKS partnered with local coffee companies Deluxe Coffeeworks, Father Coffee, Naked Coffee, Rosetta Roastery, Truth Coffee Roasting, and Terbodore Coffee Roasters.

“When opened and the pods decanted, the innovative new pouch becomes a storage carrier for used coffee pods. Once full, the pouch can then be zipped up and returned to one of the seven compost collection points that 4WKS has set up in the Western Cape or, alternatively, composted as a complete unit (pouch, pods, coffee) at home,” said 4WKS co-founders Daniel Pretorius and Oliver Pretorius.

Together with Ywaste, a composting facility in the Western Cape, 4WKS ensured all pods collected (pouch included) would return to the earth in as little as three months.

Ywaste owner Emile Fourier said this new compostable packaging was a small but significant step in bringing about more consciousness when it comes to waste and encouraging the habit of composting, because to effectively compost organic waste, it needed to be source-separated.

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