Ask brothers Daniel and Oliver Pretorius who, together with their cousin, Lulu Larché, founded 4WKS in 2019, with a commitment to creating a more sustainable future for coffee lovers everywhere. They thought that something as small and habitual as a coffee pod could be used to shift awareness and habits when it comes to waste – and they succeed: by offering freshly-roasted coffee from South Africa’s best micro-roasters in a 100% compostable pod, the company provides a solution to the problem of single-use plastic and aluminum coffee pods, that end up in landfills and take hundreds of years to decompose.
Following this success, the founders began thinking ahead: “We were relentlessly searching for packaging that would keep the coffee pods fresh, be used to refill the endlessly-refillable 4WKS Jar – and will help close the loop, ensuring our pods land where they’re meant to: Earth!”, says Daniel.
At the end of 2021, they discovered TIPA’s compostable pouches, which fulfilled all these objectives, as well as serving as a storage container for used coffee pods, which can be zipped up and composted at home or at an industrial composting facility.
“The customers are very satisfied with the pouches, and appreciate their compostability and nifty zipper function – which led to a growth in sales”, says Daniel.
He is thrilled by the fact that 4WKS and TIPA share the same values when it comes to their products’ end-of-life: “Both companies are committed to circular products that leave zero waste post-composting”, he explains.
For even tighter loop closure and greater convenience, 4WKS has established a Compost Collection Network at eight of its coffee-roaster partners’ cafes around South Africa. There, customers can drop off their used pods, packed in their pod pouch, which 4WKS collects and composts every four weeks.
In the past year, 4WKS has partnered with other sustainable brands, such as the South African coffee chain Bootlegger, which shares its values and commitment to business being a force for good. This brand’s coffee is Rain Forest Alliance certified, they compost all their organic food waste – and use 4WKS Pods, across all their cafés. 4WKS also partnered with The Compost Kitchen, a high-tech home composting solution – the iCompost – that processes food scraps and coffee pods and turns them into compost.
“The company’s goal is to have the least impact on the planet while having the greatest impact on people”, Daniel concludes.