Is roll stock a sustainable option for coffee packaging?

Aidan Gant
August 14, 2023
An image of a kraft paper roll stock coffee bag in an article on whether roll stock is a sustainable option for coffee packaging

As concerns around plastic waste grow, specialty coffee roasters are looking for packaging that is efficient, cost-effective, and sustainable. For many, flexible packaging, such as custom roll stock, offers many advantages. It is fully customisable, easy to transport and store, and more importantly, inexpensive to manufacture and purchase. 

Notably, according to recent research, the global flexible packaging market is projected to reach $102.8 billion by 2031. The innovative design behind flexible packaging, as well as its compatibility with high-quality graphic treatments, are driving factors behind this increased demand.

This is also why packaging such as roll stock, also known as printed rewind rolls or film rolls, is commonly used to protect and transport a variety of goods, including coffee, chocolate bars and juice pouches. But how environmentally friendly is custom roll stock and how can brands ensure it is disposed of correctly?

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What is printed roll stock?

Essentially, roll stock refers to a continuous sheet of high-barrier laminated film that is often wrapped around a cylindrical, kraft paperboard core. Printed rewind rolls can be used with either vertical or horizontal form, fill, and seal (FFS) machines to form customised bags, pouches, or wrappers.

This packaging is then filled and sealed in order to preserve foods, liquids, chemicals, and more. The high barrier properties protect the contents from moisture, oxygen, light, and external contaminants. 

Film rolls can be made from various materials, including plastic, paper, or foil. More so, it is fully customisable to meet the specific needs of the product, making it ideal for roasted coffee. Custom film rolls can be used to create several bag styles, including:

  • Stick pouches for single serves of cold brew concentrate. 
  • 3 and 4 side seal pouches for drip coffee bags. 
  • Pillow bags that feature a back-centre seal and a top and bottom seal. 
  • Gusseted bags are ideal for heavier products, such as roasted coffee beans. 
An image of fully custom printed roll stock for coffee packaging, roll stock coffee bags, custom printed roll stock, printed roll stock, coffee bags, in an article on whether roll stock is a sustainable option for coffee packaging

Is it a sustainable option for coffee packaging?

Depending on the materials used and the manufacturing processes involved, printed roll stock can be an environmentally positive packaging solution for your product. Overall, printed rewind rolls tend to use fewer materials in the production process, which releases fewer greenhouse gases. More sustainable materials, such as low-density polyethylene (LDPE) and polylactic acid (PLA).

LDPE has similar characteristics to traditional plastics, with the benefits of being recyclable, reusable and affordable. LDPE offers a good balance for roasters looking to move away from traditional plastics without the need to disrupt their business models.

Alternatively, PLA is biodegradable, cost-effective, and easy to produce. PLA is made from the fermentation of carbohydrates from renewable resources such as maize, cornflour, and sugarcane. The fermentation produces resin filaments that have similar characteristics to petroleum-based plastic.  

The filaments can be shaped, moulded, and coloured to suit a range of needs. They can also undergo simultaneous extrusion to form a multilayered or shrink-wrapped film.

Furthermore, as film rolls can be customised to the precise size of the product, fewer materials are used. And it emits fewer greenhouse gases during transit as it is so lightweight. It is important also to choose a supplier that is equipped to print sustainably. For example, printed rewind rolls are perfectly suited to rotogravure, flexographic, and digital printing methods.

Digital printing allows roasters to create an accurate rendering of their packaging with accurate colour consistency. It is also the method that is most likely to offer roasters the fastest turnaround time, as everything is done digitally, which also allows for more customisation and smaller print runs.

What’s more, this method uses water-based inks that are less likely to experience supply chain delays and price hikes. Plus, they are much better for the planet as they can break down during recycling.

An image of sachet flexible coffee packaging, flexible coffee bags, coffee bags, drip coffee bags, packaging for drip coffee, flexible coffee packaging, in an article on whether roll stock is a sustainable option for coffee packaging

Benefits of using roll stock

Using film rolls for coffee packaging offers a variety of advantages. For example, a significant level of brand identity can be established for a significantly smaller investment in quantity and, often, unit cost.

For specialty coffee roasters, in particular, custom-printed rewind rolls can be a great way to meet the ever-changing demands of packaging requirements. Roll stock tends to have a low cost of production and results in less waste as it is cut to size.

Branding is a key part of standing out in a competitive market, and this packaging allows for greater customisation than several other types. It can be completely customised in colour, shape, size, and design. Furthermore, roasters have the option to fit degassing valves, tin ties, reclosable zippers, fold-over bag tops, and more.

Film rolls also help roasters produce and fill packaging efficiently at high speeds. The majority of form, fill, and seal machines have automatic weight control and weight checkers that increase efficiency compared to weighing products manually. By choosing custom roll stock packaging, coffee roasters can reduce their environmental impact while still protecting the quality of their products.

MTPak Coffee offers fully customisable roll stock that can be transformed into high-quality, sustainable, flexible packaging for coffee roasters.

Our custom-printed roll stock features high-quality images and a design that keeps even the smallest details crisp and crystal clear. Our film rolls are available in a wide range of materials, colours, and layers.

Clients can choose from single-layer packaging or multi-laminate structures, as both packaging options provide excellent barrier protection. 

Furthermore, we have several customisation options available. We use various printing methods, including digital printing, to ensure high-definition printing on our roll-stock coffee packaging. 

Notably, compared to conventional printing, eco-friendly digital printing methods consume less energy and resources thanks to reduced setup costs.  Additionally, it allows us to custom-print on biodegradable, compostable, and recyclable films. 

To elevate your roll stock packaging, you can also choose add-ons:

  • Transparent or clouded windows.
  • Metalised, holographic, glossy, or matte films.
  • Spot embellishments, such as embossing or hot stamping.

We are able to fully customise your rewind film rolls according to your specifications, regardless of whether you use an automatic or manual machine or a contract packer for your packaging.

We also offer low minimum order quantities (MOQs) to micro-roasters who are looking to remain agile while showcasing brand identity and a commitment to the environment.

For more information on custom-printed roll stock, contact our team.

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