Are glossy coffee bags recyclable? 

Holly Szakal
November 23, 2023

First impressions make all the difference in the competitive specialty coffee sector. Notably, research suggests that it takes consumers roughly 0.05 seconds to form an impression of a brand or product. Perhaps one of the most effective ways to stand out is to invest in custom coffee bags. 

Glossy coffee bags, for instance, could be highly effective. Several studies have shown that humans are often attracted to glossy items. One hypothesis suggests that human preference for gloss stems from an innate desire for fresh water. 

Another study found the majority of participants preferred advertisements that were printed on glossy paper. Furthermore, the study included 4 year old children who were too young to understand the link between shininess and expensiveness. 

Gloss lamination on coffee bags produces a shiny, glass-like appearance that can enhance the colour and vibrancy of the design. But, are they recyclable? 

To learn more about how brands can benefit from glossy bags, and ensure empty packaging is properly recycled, I spoke with Gefen Skolnick, the founder and CEO of Couplet Coffee

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What is a glossy laminate on coffee packaging? 

Incorporating a glossy laminate onto coffee bags can create a sleek and stunning finish that drives consumer curiosity. In today’s competitive coffee sector, brand representation and packaging design have never been more crucial. Both are required to stand out and leave an impression on potential and existing customers. 

A recent report shows 90% of consumers focus on visual appearance when making a purchase. The effect elevated design packaging finishes can have on human buying behaviour are clear. 

Essentially, lamination is the final step in the extensive design process of creating custom packaging. When applying a gloss laminate to coffee bags, the packaging material must go through a thorough preparation process to ensure it is sterile and clean. Then, a thin layer of plastic film, typically polypropylene or other sustainable alternatives is applied. This film is applied to the bag’s surface using high-quality adhesive.

Through the use of a lamination machine, heat and pressure work together to activate the adhesive and securely bond the film, creating a smooth and visually appealing finish. Finally, the packaging undergoes a cooling process to set the adhesive, and a final inspection ensures a uniform appearance.

There are two common packaging finishes that specialty coffee roasters tend to opt for. One is glossy lamination, which leaves behind a shiny, sleek surface. The other is a matte laminate, which offers a smooth and dull texture to the bag’s exterior. 

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The benefits of applying a gloss laminate to coffee bags

As the specialty coffee industry is expected to grow by 11% by 2030, first impressions count. For many, coffee has evolved past a morning necessity of quick instant grounds and become a daily dose of high-quality, affordable luxury.

With this comes the expectation that coffee roasters must uphold these high standards to truly appease that luxurious association.

The approach at Couplet Coffee involves holographic coffee bags with a glossy finish to emphasise vibrant colours and a funky design style. “We’re big on being bright, colourful, and funkier than people are used to in the coffee space. That instinct in the early days ended up being very true, more people seem to pick it up on shelves across the US,” Gefen explains.

“I’d highly recommend going glossy for the purpose of standing out on retail shelves. It’s helped us tremendously to stand out in a sea of coffees on grocery shelves and more. We have a glossy look on our holographic bags that I’ve entrusted my design team to make as abundant in colour and fun as possible.”

Specialty coffee roasters can also use glossy coffee bags to appeal to the consumer’s psyche. Certain packaging finishes not only enhance colour, which has been shown to affect human behaviour and feelings, but also entice consumers to associate a premium aesthetic with their product. 

This subtle, small design detail may lead customers to perceive the enclosed product as higher value and quality, thereby increasing the likelihood of a purchase.

Glossy coffee bags can help boost the exterior visual appeal to the consumer eye and psyche. Beyond that, the laminate serves as a strong protective barrier against scratches and cracks forming throughout the shipping process and beyond.

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Are glossy coffee bags recyclable?

A growing number of consumers have become mindful of sustainability choices in their buying decisions. Research shows 78% of consumers admit that eco-friendliness impacts their daily lifestyle choices, thus being a forceful driver in their buying decisions – alongside the consideration of visual elements.

However, making the conscious choice to opt for sustainable materials throughout the packaging design process of your coffee bags can leave quite a lasting impression. Furthermore, these attempts are likely to help a brand stand out from the crowd even further.

An effective way to determine which finish is best is to use social media tools to deduce the brands’ main consumer base and cater the design of packaging towards them. These tools can help roasters determine the main age and gender range of their followers and the location they are based in. Social media tools can also help roasters see what type of content receives the most engagement, which may help influence design decisions. 

MTPak Coffee understands the need to offer high-quality, attractive coffee packaging that is also sustainable. Our range of packaging options is made from renewable materials. Our coffee boxes are made using recycled cardboard, while our sustainable coffee bags are made using kraft paper, rice paper, or multilayer LDPE packaging with an environmentally friendly PLA lining.

Our coffee bags and coffee boxes can be customised to reflect your brand’s characteristics, as well as vital information about your product. MTPak Coffee offers a wide range of customisation techniques, including spot UV with a glossy, satin, or matte finish, embossing and debossing, as well as hot foil stamping in a variety of colours.

We also offer our clients a quick turnaround time of 40 hours and 24-hour shipping time in addition to low minimum order quantities (MOQs) for those looking to remain agile while showcasing a commitment to the environment.

For more information on how to best customise your coffee packaging, contact our team.

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Holly Szakal
Holly Szakal

Holly Szakal is a Melbourne-based copy and content writer and is deeply immersed in her city's vibrant specialty coffee culture. She infuses the rich aromas of the specialty coffee scene by delivering compelling narratives on the industry's current events.

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