After many months of tests, trials and due diligence La Bottega Milanese is relieved to have found a PlasticFree™ partner to launch their fully cardboard recyclable take away cup LBM range.
This pandemic had another unfortunate negative effect (if you needed another), the consumption of take away accessories skyrocketed - and we are part of the problem.
Something that really was pressing on us hence were desperate to try and mitigate somehow.
There have been other products on the market offering the 'plant based' and 'compostable' reassuring labels, but that comes with a huge caveat that most people do not fully comprehend.
'Commercially compostable' - We don't want to go into details about this and we do not claim to be bio-scientists, but essentially it means that these products are truly compostable only if processed at specific factories (very few in the country).
This means that any of these cups that are thrown in a normal compost bin, regular bin or anywhere else - would not break down. Studies even show that after a year of exposure to salt sea water these cups do not show any sign of degradation.
We simply did not see the point of pushing a product and getting behind it, if in reality it was not fulfilling the perceived benefit.
In simple words, us giving you a cup and you taking it away and throwing in a bin, meant that cup still going to landfill.
Credit where credit is due, many coffee shops attempted to solve this issue by arranging a refuse collection of such cups for specific processing from their locations. Off course the main issue here is that the cups are take away for a reason, to be taken away..
It's also fair to mention, however, that a good side of the 'plant based' commercially compostable range is that the materials used in the production are kinder to the environment.
We are far from resolving the problem and we are not claiming to be the David Attenborough of coffee here.
In fact, we have a long way to go and our lids are still plastic after all. We are still working on this front and we hope to be launching a pulp based lid asap, but tests and due diligence are still going on so before we endorse something we need to be sure that in good faith, the product is valid.
We have been trying to reduce plastic in other areas of the business too, as well as eliminating plastic straws and cutlery like many other businesses - we eliminated any sort of plastic bottle drink from our fridges.
Long way to go still, but we are trying to do our bit.
Cardboard recyclable item - this is important and key in our opinion.
Cardboard recycling is widely more available than specific commercial composting. This means that both ourselves and our customers have much more of a chance to make sure that our cups do not end up in landfill (or in your garden's compost bin not breaking down).
In an effort to try and mitigate the huge amount of take away cups used from March, we have decided to re-allow the use of re-suable cups at LBM.
We have found a pretty good way of dealing with this. All you have to do is place an open (and clean) reusable cup on the bar counter in from of the Barista, we will then pour a shot of coffee in and top up with milk without anything touching the cup.
This may mean that your Latte Art might not be amazing, but it's a small price to pay..