Peterborough Reuse

Repur­pos­ing Cof­fee Sacks

Mas­teroast, a cof­fee roast­ing and pack­ing facil­ity based in Peter­bor­ough, was send­ing between 800 and 1,200 hes­si­an sacks to land­fill every week. They pos­ted a chal­lenge on the city’s Brain­wave Innov­a­tions Portal ask­ing for ideas as to how the sacks could be re-used, thus divert­ing them from land­fill.



After spot­ting the chal­lenge on Brain­wave, city entre­pren­eurs Pav Patel and Gary Graves presen­ted a pro­pos­al to repur­pose the sacks into trendy shop­ping bags, with the remainder used for river bank re-enforce­ment. Fol­low­ing a memor­andum of under­stand­ing with Mas­teroast to receive the unwanted cof­fee sacks and grant fund­ing from Peter­bor­ough DNA to kick-start the idea, Peter­bor­ough Reuse was born.



To date 33 ton­nes of hes­si­an sack has been diver­ted from land­fill which instead has been repur­posed to make 6,600 shop­ping bags, all lined with 715kg of unwanted cur­tains from loc­al char­ity shops.
The Envir­on­ment Agency, with endorse­ment form Atkins Glob­al Con­sultancy, is using the sacks to build up river banks that have been dam­aged. Pre­vi­ously mater­i­als were sourced from Bangladesh, so the car­bon foot­print has been reduced sig­ni­fic­antly too.
Six­ty loc­al women from deprived parts of the city have been trained, improv­ing their self esteem and con­fid­ence. 16 are now in part-time employ­ment mak­ing the repur­posed shop­ping bags.


33,000 tonnes of coffee sacks destined for landfill have been repurposed into shopping bags and riverbank re-enforcements.