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Rock stars to shift paradigm on coffee-related waste

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OAKLAND, Calif., U.S. – Coffee’s Fourth Wave is here. A partnership between Oakland Coffee Works and San Francisco Bay Coffee Company is bringing to market coffee’s fourth wave: organic coffee in packaging made from fully compostable materials – including bags and single serving pods.

This sets a new standard for sustainable packaging in the coffee industry and gives consumers a no-compromise alternative to contributing to the mountains of coffee-related garbage thrown away every day.

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Oakland Coffee Works, owned by Green Day’s Mike Dirnt and Billie Joe Armstrong (picture), is introducing the first coffee packaging made of certified compostable materials this week to four Bay Area Costco stores, on and on

“First there was diner coffee, then there was second wave coffee, like Starbucks, and then came the third wave with artisanal coffee – but this is the next step: organic, truly high-quality coffee that fairly supports the farmers who grow it and that comes in packaging made from fully compostable materials,” said Mike Dirnt, a long-time coffee enthusiast and bassist for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Green Day.

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“It’s no-compromise coffee in no-compromise packaging.”

To create packaging made from certified compostable materials has been no small effort. Mike, Billie Joe and the Oakland Coffee team went looking for sustainable solutions as they were developing their brand.

They were intentional in the impact they wanted to make: to offer sustainably farmed, damn good organic coffee, and to do business differently. They wanted to support the farmers and their communities, and offer products with a minimal footprint on the environment.

But there was a problem: No one made a coffee bag from certified compostable materials that functioned like a conventional bag.

While searching for solutions, Oakland Coffee found like-minded partners at San Francisco Bay Coffee Company who were on a similar mission: to find (and fund) compostable packaging that would change the game on waste and challenge the industry to change, too.

“We’re a family-owned company, and we care a lot about our impact and the legacy we’re leaving for our kids,” said John Rogers, one of three generations of the Rogers family who run the privately held San Francisco Bay Coffee Company.

“We wanted to be a company that solved the waste problem for the coffee industry so we have invested more than five years of work and more than $2 million so far towards developing fully compostable pods and bags. Our goal is to influence the rest of the industry to adopt it, too. Mike and Billie Joe wanted to do the same thing so we partnered so we could really make an impact.”

Starting October 28, a three-pack of Oakland Coffee’s Gardenista blend – in 12-oz coffee bags made from fully compostable materials – is available at four Bay Area Costco stores for under $20. A pair of 3-packs (that’s six 12oz bags total) will also be available on for under $45. Single 12-oz bags of the organic Atomic Garden blend are available on

The two coffee companies have bigger plans beyond this initial release. They have developed the first single-serve pods made from fully compostable materials and will be releasing them in the coming weeks. Oakland Coffee’s pod made from fully compostable materials will be available in stores and online at in coming weeks. San Francisco Bay Coffee’s pods made from fully compostable materials are expected to land on Costco shelves and in other retail and online stores in early 2017.

The goal for both companies is to move the needle on coffee-related waste – which is a huge problem:

  • Some 18,000 single serve coffee pods are thrown away every minute
  • Lined up, the single serve coffee pods thrown away each year could circle the Earth more than 10 times
  • John Sylvan, the inventor of the Keurig machine, “regrets ever inventing it” because of its environmental impact

“We want consumers to have a choice that doesn’t require a compromise. We want to make great coffee that supports farmworkers, and makes sustainable packaging accessible to everyone, without pushing the added costs onto our consumers,” said Mike. “By riding the fourth wave with us, everyone can enjoy great, quality coffee that gives more people a choice towards a sustainable future.”

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