Eco-Friendly

U.S. Tariffs and Their Effect on Eco-Friendly Paper Products

As you know, the U.S. has been locked in a trade war with China for quite some time now. Our government enacted significant tariffs on thousands of products imported from China in 2018. China responded with its own round of tariffs, which was followed by even more tariffs imposed by us.

The eco-friendly paper products we carry have been affected by the trade war to some extent. Fallout from the tariffs has by no means been devastating, but there have been consequences. We are doing our best to stay ahead of price increases so that our customers do not suffer unnecessarily.

How Tariffs Work

A tariff is essentially a tax placed on imported goods. The first round of tariffs implemented in 2018 imposed a rate of 25% on a lengthy list of products coming in from China. So a product purchased from a Chinese company for $100 before the tariff would cost $125 after. Those costs are paid by U.S. buyers.

The federal government claims that the total amount of the tariffs imposed against China represent less than 1% of projected inflation. When applied across the board to every product bought and sold in the U.S., the tariffs should have a negligible effect on overall inflation. Still, those products directly affected by tariffs now cost more.

Products and Raw Materials

Where eco-friendly paper products are concerned, there are a couple of things to consider. Right off the bat are finished products like cups, plates, napkins, etc. Finished products manufactured in China now cost more thanks to the tariffs. But that is not the end of it.

Companies that make eco-friendly paper products domestically might still import some of the raw materials they need for the manufacturing process from China. Many of those raw materials are also subject to the tariffs. This adds additional costs to the manufacturing process.

Whether you are talking finished products or raw materials, tariff costs are ultimately passed on. How much gets passed on to the end customer depends on whether or not others along the supply chain are willing to absorb some of the pain themselves.

How We Approach Higher Costs

Galaxie Coffee is no different to any other U.S. business in that we hate the idea of passing on higher costs to customers. We are not happy about the fact that a trade war with China means some of our eco-friendly paper products might cost more in the future. But it is what it is.

It is normal practice for us to do everything we can to keep retail prices in check. Sometimes that means we have to look for new suppliers who can offer us better pricing. Sometimes that means going with less expensive products from the same supplier. And sometimes it means absorbing part of a price increase so that what we pass on to customers is minimal.

Know that we are doing everything we can to control retail prices. Doing so is a long-standing Galaxie Coffee practice that we intend to continue.

It’s Time to Look at Eco-Friendly Breakroom Supplies Again

It's Time to Look at Eco-Friendly Breakroom Supplies AgainEvery industry takes time to reach a point of maturity. This was true when styrofoam was introduced as a material for disposable coffee cups, plates, etc. It was also true when environmentally conscious manufacturers started looking for materials to replace styrofoam. Years later, it is now time to look at eco-friendly breakroom supplies again. The industry has reached maturity.

Styrofoam had long been the material of choice for disposable coffee cups because of its insulating properties. Subsequently, paper cups have become more popular. That said, new eco-friendly coffee cups lined with PLA material offer the same insulating power but in a cup that is biodegradable and very much eco-friendly.

On the other hand is styrofoam’s eco-unfriendliness. Styrofoam is a petroleum-based product that takes hundreds of years to biodegrade in a landfill. Depending on the composition of a particular foam product, it may never completely biodegrade while buried underground and without exposure to light, water, and air.

The PLA Revolution

PLA (polylactic acid) is a bioplastic material derived from renewable sources like sugarcane, corn starch, and cassava. It is rigid enough to support everything from coffee cups to water bottles to medical devices, yet still biodegradable and compostable. In terms of worldwide consumption of bioplastics, PLA is among the leaders. It is used around the world to replace less environmentally friendly plastics.

The use of PLA material in breakroom supplies is truly putting the friendliness back into eco-friendly coffee cups, bowls, plates, and flatware. It is helping to make the breakroom more environmentally friendly by replacing non-biodegradable plastics and foams with a material that can either be composted or sent to the landfill with confidence that it will biodegrade.

Eco-Friendly Pricing

We are happy to say that price is becoming less of an issue for eco-friendly breakroom supplies. Costs have come down enough over the last 12 months to make eco-friendly products very competitive. For example, you can purchase high quality eco-friendly coffee cups from Galaxie Coffee for between $.07 and $.10 per cup, depending on size. That’s about $.01 more per cup when compared with paper cup pricing. Only recently, this difference was more than $.05!

Prices on our other eco-friendly products are equally competitive. From bowls and plates to forks, knives, and spoons, price should no longer be a prohibitive factor in going eco-friendly.

Galaxie Coffee wants to encourage our customers to start thinking eco-friendly for their breakroom supplies. Going eco-friendly is good for the environment because it means fewer non-biodegradable plastics and foams end up in our landfills. It means less energy being used to produce non-eco-friendly materials as well.

If you are not yet a Galaxie Coffee customer, we would like the opportunity to change that. We are one of the leading coffee service providers in the greater New York area. We can supply your office, warehouse, store, or industrial facility with the finest hot and cold beverages and breakroom supplies. Our inventory of coffee and water equipment includes all the latest technologies to ensure every breakroom experience is a positive one.

What Will It Take for Corporate America to Embrace Eco-Friendly Paper Products?

The historical animus between corporate America and the environmental movement is no secret. For more than a decade, their competing interests have led them to butting heads more often than not. Yet lately it seems as though corporate America has started to warm up to the green message as increasingly more companies are beginning to make efforts to make their products, services, and business models more environmentally friendly. Eco-friendly paper products are a good example.

It would have been unheard of for a restaurant chain to use something like a paper straw five or six years ago. Everything was plastic back then. But paper straws are catching on slowly but surely. The same goes for eco-friendly cups, plates, utensils, etc. American corporations are even looking at eco-friendly packaging that goes beyond just substituting wooden pallets for plastic.

The question is, what will it take for corporate America to fully embrace eco-friendly paper products rather than continuing to give them only cursory attention? There are really only two things that will do it:

1. Public Pressure

A few years ago, the Home Depot big-box DIY store faced tremendous pressure from environmental groups over the continued sale of lumber taken from old-growth forests. It took a couple of years, but those environmental groups eventually convinced corporate management to stop selling the lumber.

If a large corporation can be convinced that something they are doing is not acceptable to customers, they will stop doing it. Right now, there is no desire to shift to eco-friendly paper products because companies do not perceive that their customers care about their current choices. The minute the public begins demanding a change, that change will come.

We are seeing many corporations form working committees to support their “green” initiatives. Most often it’s the millennial employees spearheading these projects. Galaxie Coffee fully supports these efforts and as prices come down due to increased usage, we are lowering our retail pricing as well.

2. A Healthier Bottom Line

Like it or not, businesses of all sizes – be they small companies like Galaxie Coffee or huge, global corporations – exist to make money for their owners. The driving force behind just about everything a corporation does is the bottom line. If eco-friendly paper products could be introduced, manufactured, and used in such a way as to improve the bottom line, you’d better believe corporate America would jump on board.

By the way, the desire for healthy bottom line is not a bad thing. It is what keeps all our employers in business; it is what ensures we all have jobs to pay our bills. Appealing to corporate America and its desire for a healthy bottom line is a very legitimate way to convince companies to embrace eco-friendly paper products. The makers of those products just have to find a way to make what they sell more desirable to corporate buyers.

Eco-friendly paper products are catching on with American business slowly but surely. In the meantime, our job at Galaxie Coffee is to continue to provide our customers in the greater New York area with the best possible office coffee service. We would be happy to provide service for your company, regardless of size or need.

What Is the Most Eco-Friendly Option for Office Coffee?

What Is the Most Eco-Friendly Option for Office Coffee?It is clear that the modern coffee drinker is concerned about using eco-friendly products that promote sustainability and fair pricing. The question for office managers is what constitutes the most eco-friendly option for office coffee consumption? The answer comes down to how one prefers coffee to be brewed.

When you compare energy use between automatic drip and single cup machines, it is pretty much a wash on a cost-per-cup basis. In some cases, newer single serve machines may even be slightly more energy-efficient. However, in the grand scheme of things, the amount of packaging required for single cup versus drip machines gives the clear advantage to the automatic drip model. In terms of environmental impact related to waste, the drip coffee machine is more eco-friendly.

With that said, it is evidence that more Americans prefer the single-cup method of brewing. So do their office managers. So in the single-cup arena, let us discuss the most eco-friendly options.

1. Bean-to-Cup Brewers

There is no argument that k-cups produce a tremendous amount of waste that goes into landfills. Furthermore, all of this packaging needs to be manufactured prior to coffee processing and packing. That means energy resources are being consumed as well. Currently, single cup brewers are the least environmentally friendly way to produce a single cup of coffee.  There are other single cup solutions that have coffee capsules that are 100% fully recyclable.

The most eco-friendly option is the bean-to-cup brewer.  Many of these brewers offer a high quality cup of coffee and several types of coffee drinks including lattes, cappuccinos, espresso-style coffee, mochaccino, hot chocolate and more.  The beans and powder are packaged in bulk which reduces the packaging and the price.  There is no waste generated for an individual cup.

2. The Single Cup Pod

A number of companies have decided to compete directly with single cup manufacturers by producing biodegradable pods. They provide the same convenience as the single cup but in a package that can be discarded without a significant environmental impact. The pods are generally priced lower than the more popular single serve options and produce a quality cup of coffee.  The downside is there are fewer choices in pods.  However, for most office managers – the choices will be sufficient.  The equipment has also been recently improved.

Galaxie Coffee understands that having eco-friendly office coffee options is important to many of our customers. To that end, we strive to provide a full line of single cup and single pot options for the broadest appeal possible. We invite you to check out our full selection of single serve coffee products on our website. Do not forget that we also offer traditional coffee products, bottled water, tea, and a whole lot more. We are proud to serve the New York area with complete beverage and break room service.

Upgrading Your Break Room with Eco-Friendly Paper Products

Upgrading Your Break Room with Eco-Friendly Paper ProductsBeing eco-friendly these days is about more than just driving a compact car and paying attention to the thermostat. It is about doing whatever we can to save energy and reduce waste at the same time. Many companies in the greater New York area are doing their part by upgrading their break rooms with eco-friendly paper products.

Next to office supplies, paper products for the break room present one of the easiest and most effective ways companies can become more eco-friendly. The key is to look at two things:

using biodegradable paper products
using products made with recycled materials.

The concept of being eco-friendly in the break room is not as complicated as it might sound. It is just a matter of knowing what to look for when purchasing supplies. Galaxie Coffee is pleased to offer a number of eco-friendly options.

Biodegradable Paper Products

At one time, foam cups were the standard in the coffee service industry. Foam is inexpensive, lightweight, rugged, and very good at insulating hot or cold beverages. The problem with foam is that it takes nearly forever to degrade. It has been said that you could throw a foam cup into a landfill, dig it up 100 years later, and still find it intact. Paper is different.

Because paper is made from tree pulp, it decomposes rather quickly. Yet paper cups have not always been popular for hot beverages because these lacked good insulation capabilities. That has changed. Today’s paper cups provide as much insulation as foam cups in most cases.

The concept of biodegradable paper also extends to paper plates, bowls, napkins, drinking straws and cutlery. Today’s plates and bowls are stronger than ever, providing excellent receptacles for lunchtime meals. It is not necessary to use foam anymore. As for drinking straws, paper is every bit as dependable as plastic. Moreover, using a paper straw has the added benefit of bringing back some of those memories of childhood – if you are over age 40. Eco-friendly cutlery is now made better than ever and the prices are significantly lower than they were two years ago.

Recycled Materials

Paper product manufacturers are able to keep a lot of paper out of landfills by recycling it for use in break room supplies. You have seen recycled paper for copy machines and printers, but now you can purchase paper towels, napkins, cups, plates and bowls all made from recycled materials. When you choose products made with recycled materials you are helping extend the life of your local landfill while also cutting down on less environmentally friendly products.

Galaxie Coffee encourages customers to consider upgrading their break rooms with eco-friendly paper products. The cost of such products is coming down as more companies begin to use these products.  Please get in touch with us to find out what products on your list we carry. Our current inventory includes everything from cups and cutlery to towels and napkins.  Galaxie Coffee has found ways to allow companies to begin using these eco-friendly products immediately and gradually increase their costs.

We are a leading provider of coffee service, water, break room and janitorial supplies in the greater New York area. Our customers include businesses of all sizes across multiple industries. We’d be happy to serve your company as well.  Call us at 631-794-1910 to discuss your needs.