The McCullagh Coffee Co. reached a milestone with a simple act on Friday: by putting an empty bag at the curb.
The Buffalo-based coffee maker, located at 245 Swan St., gave away its estimated 500,000th jute bag.
The jute bags can hold about 145 pounds of coffee beans that are shipped to McCullagh from around the world. The containers are made in India from plant fibers.
Once the beans are removed from the bag for roasting, McCullagh leaves them at the curb for anyone to take. They tend to get snapped up quickly, often by people heading home from work. Some use them to protect grass or shrubbery. Even the Buffalo Zoo uses them, for its lions' habitat.
Dennis Gorski, a company spokesman, said McCullagh's president and chief executive officer, Warren E. Emblidge Jr., started giving the bags away soon after buying the company in 1987.
And the practice fits with Emblidge's plan to use "sustainable" practices at the company, Gorski said. The number of bags the company places at the curb varies widely, depending on the amount of production at the plant on a particular day, Gorski said.