Monday 9 September 2019

Compostable Coffee Pods

Changing the planet one pod at a time?
I have to be honest I'm addicted to coffee. Never used to be, tea was my thing. Green tea, white tea, herbal tea, decaf, redbush, chai, you name it, I drank it. Then the unthinkable happened, the other half bought a coffee machine and pretty soon I was addicted. 

I find strong coffee doesn't agree with me but the frothy ones (cappucino, macchiato) I do love and we indulge many a time in an Irish coffee which we used to use filter coffee machines. The coffee pod machines are so handy at getting just the right amount without messing around with filters and coffee grounds.

So that led me to a huge dilemma, what to do with all those plastic capsules when I'm trying to reduce plastics?

Nescafe Dolce Gusto have a trial recycling program which I did experiment with. You have to order boxes online (thereby creating a journey for the van, boxing up of boxes plus the recycling pouch arrives as a plastic bag!) & then you have to squeeze & drain each capsule, a messy process & was difficult to get them fully dry. It became a normal sight to have rows of capsules all laid out to dry on paper sheets in the kitchen. There had to be a better way I thought to myself. 

I resolved in the end to think that the only solution was to go back to instant coffee or indeed go cold turkey & kick my coffee habit into the kerb.

But there may be help on the horizon - Compostable Coffee Capsules™ (a company based in Rotterdam) and Coda Plastics (UK) have announced the launch of mass production of home compostable coffee capsules. A UK first for mass production and a game changer for the single serve coffee market, the new product composts to high quality soil with zero micro plastic contamination. 

60 Billion Coffee Capsules used annually
On CODA's website they say '60 billion coffee capsules are used every year. 25% of these are made of polluting and poisoning aluminum, and the remaining 75% are made of plastics, very often multi-layer plastics. Less than 1 billion capsules are recycled annually.'

At present Coda Plastics is furnishing a new production facility in Norfolk, dedicated to the processing of home compostable polymer. It shows the commitment of Coda Plastics to lead the industry with environmental-friendly packaging.

CODA in the sustainability section say 'We achieve close to 0% waste in our manufacturing operations. We recycle all of our own waste plastic and buy in waste plastics from other factories to produce high quality PCR. Anything we can’t reuse ourselves is sent to be recycled, including our old machinery.

'From the solar panels on our roofs that power our facilities to the energy saving initiatives in our offices, we have implemented a range of measures to make our manufacturing as green as we can.'

Similar to Dolce Gusto, Nespresso also offer a recycling program where you can request a pouch to send back your capsules. They are even planning to produce a bicycle made from recycled coffee capsules, or should I say re-cycled - boom, boom!

It's reassuring to see a plastic company and the coffee company themselves, admit that plastics are a problem & are indeed looking for solutions.

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