Wednesday, 21 May 2014 15:45

A coffee pod that can be composted with food waste spares the landfills

Single use coffee capsules have boomed in recent years - but so too has their impact on the environment as they increasingly swell up the landfills. But now a British plastics manufacturer, Biome Bioplastics, is serving up coffee pods that can be composted together with the kitchen food waste.

web-pod3The popularity of coffee-pod machines in Britain has seen their usage up by 45.1% between February 2012 and 2013, equating to around 186m capsules. There are now around 50 different coffee pod or capsule systems on the market.

Unfortunately, single serve coffee pods are not easily recyclable. Mixed material pods are sent to landfill and those brands that do offer a recycling service have few recycling points and limited collection service. With mounting pressure around the environmental impact of their success, the coffee industry urgently needs more sustainable packaging options.

In response to this challenge, Biome Bioplastics has developed a portfolio of compostable materials for coffee pods based on renewable, natural resources including plant starches and tree by-products. These bioplastics will degrade to prescribed international standards in composting environments.

"Single–serve coffee pods are an excellent example of the fundamental role that packaging plays in delivering quality and convenience in the food service sector," explains Biome Bioplastics CEO Paul Mines. "The challenge is to reduce environmental impact through packaging optimisation without impacting on food quality or safety, or inconveniencing the customer. Bioplastics are an important part of the solution."

Biome Bioplastics is working with manufacturing and brand partners to develop a number of natural polymer-based solutions for the hot drinks industry, with further announcements expected in the coming months. The company's stated mission is to produce bioplastics that can challenge the dominance of oil-based polymers, and ultimately replace them completely.

Biome Bioplastics
Youtube video of the coffe pods