• Cher Dayrit

Biodegradable Coffee Capsule

Updated: Jun 18, 2020

A responsible way to enjoy the convenience of coffee capsules

What are Coffee Capsules?

Coffee capsules are the plastic containers with an aluminium foil seal, with ground coffee contained inside.

The capsule is either part of an open or closed system; open systems allow for a broader range of product to be use in the machine, because there are many manufacturers whose capsules are compatible with that machine.

Closed-system capsules include the likes of Nespresso coffee capsules, which simply means you can only use one brand of compatible capsule sin your machine.

A coffee capsule is what we know most widely, and is used for an array of products, not just ground coffee.

Who invented coffee capsules?

Single-serve coffee makers might seem a recent development, but they were originally pioneered about 40 years ago by Eric Favre, who invented Nespresso for Nestlé in 1976 before founding Monodor, another pioneer of capsule-based coffee, in 1991. Tassimo machines were not patented until 2010.

What is Biodegradable?

The definition of biodegradable is simple: It means an item that can break down into natural materials in the environment without causing harm.

For example, when a substance biodegrades into carbon dioxide, water, and other naturally occurring minerals, the substance seamlessly mixes back into the earth, leaving no toxins behind. Many materials do break down in a more harmful manner, leaving chemicals or other harmful substances in the soil.

In terms of environmental benefits, a biodegradable material will break down quickly rather than taking years. It leaves nothing harmful behind and saves landfill space.

Some items are obviously biodegradable — examples include food scraps and wood that hasn't been treated with chemicals to resist bugs and rot. Other items also may biodegrade relatively easily, such as paper. Some products will biodegrade eventually, but it may take years. This includes steel products, which eventually will rust through and disintegrate, and some plastics.

However, conditions are important to encourage biodegradability. Products that will biodegrade in nature or in home compost heaps may not biodegrade in landfills, where there's not enough bacteria, light, and water to move the process along.

What is the difference between Biodegradable and Compostable?

This can be tricky yet simple. Biodegradable refers to any material that will disintegrate in water, soil or air over time with the help of organisms like bacteria and enzymes. Compostable also refers to a material that breaks down and returns to nature, but it has to turn into something that improves the nutrient levels of the soil – or rather it has to turn into a non-toxic organic material. It also has to do so relatively quickly, at the same rate as the materials with which it is being composted, like food waste, to be classed as compostable.

Getting technical, our capsules are compliant with EN13432 standard, which means they will be “bio-assimilated” by micro-organisms naturally occurring in an industrial compost without any biological additive. Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen in our capsules will essentially be biologically transformed into H2O, CO2 and biomass i.e. new micro-organisms.

Don’t be fooled by the EN13432 claims of other compostable coffee capsule capsule manufacturers though, as technically a company can still meet EN13432 requirements even if their product contains plastic or other non-natural materials. The key is that they don’t contain over a certain percentage of these nasties, so there’s a work-around. However, our capsules are proven to be made from 100% bio-based vegetable material. So if your compost pile is healthy, then they should break down within 18-24 months. Or as soon as 6 weeks if put into your food waste collection bin!

Good coffee from the convenience of a pod coffee machine has become a popular product for many Australians, but it’s not without an environmental cost. To solve this issue, a biodegradable coffee capsule was developed after months of trials. And now, Coffee Roasters Asia would like to offer this environment friendly product to the coffee lovers in Asia. These capsules are Nespresso compatible and makes another convenient way of drinking coffee.

Our capsules are manufactured by our sister company, Capsule Pack, where capsules are manufactured leads the biodegradable & compostable coffee pod capsules for coffee companies to service their environmentally conscious customers. This means that customers can enjoy the convenience of single serve, locally produced coffee, guilt-free.

Many of the standard coffee capsules/pods are made from un-recyclable plastics or aluminium that end up in landfills and it can deter potential customers.

Our BioCap Biodegradable & Compostable Capsules are made from a patented plant-based composite. The secret lies in the material used in the plant-based capsules. It is entirely made from sugarcane and sugar beet. This means that the complete capsule, including the foil, is made from plants materials.

After usage, you can throw them in your bin guilt free. Under the right industrial set conditions, they will fully break-down into compost. Our capsule is hermetically sealed, we have built in a plant-based oxygen barrier to keep our coffee fresh. This means that our entire capsule can be chewed up, and spat out by our little microbial friends, leaving behind biomass, CO2 and water.

This means they’re perfect for environmentally conscious businesses looking to provide coffee drinkers with an eco-friendly product that doesn’t compromise on quality.

Why Biodegradable Coffee Capsule?

We see this product as a bridge, for those who love the capsule brewing method but want to make a better environmental choice and access beautiful high grade coffee using capsules.

We have been working to add capsules on our list of products on our online store and to offer to our customers. After trials for the past 18 months to perfect this product in Australia, the compostable technology is now available. Finally, we decided to bring this capsules in Asia and we are now adding this product on our webstore.

We add this product to our list because we want to provide a compostable choice to our customers and play a part in the solution to the coffee capsule waste issue. This new product does not only have a big role on our planet and but also as business owners, we have a social responsibility.

What are the capsules made from?

Made from a patented plant based composite, our capsules are compostable biodegradable according to EN13432 standard* and are fully derived from renewable resources.

*Compostable Coffee Pods according to EN 13432: A compostable product is one that can be degraded biologically with other organic waste in individual or industrial compost without release of toxic products, but leave nutrient for new crops. EN13432 standard, a harmonized European standard published in 2000, defines and frames the characteristics of packaging and recyclable products through biodegradation and composting. The requirements of the EN13432 standard for biodegradable and compostable products are mainly reflected in four aspects:

Biodegradation: 90% biodegradation in less than two months to be achieved

Disintegration: fragmentation and complete loss of visibility in the final compost

Composition: A maximum rate defined volatile solids, heavy metals must be respected

Ecotoxicity: The quality of the compost should not be changed and the residue should not be toxic to the environment.

How do I dispose of the capsules after use?

Our capsule will break down in less than 180 days in industrial compost. Dispose of your capsules via your Council green waste bin, to access the commercial composting stream and be made into usable compost. Both Solo Resource Recovery and Jeffries accept compostable packaging with the EN13432 code in their composting stream. In the local Barossa area, we have spoken to both Solo and Jeffries who accept these compliant products (EN13432) within their waste stream.

Compostable capsules disposed of in your general waste bin will still biodegrade in landfill, just over a longer period of time, however will not leave toxic residue.

The capsules require the heat and microbial conditions of a commercial facility to breakdown, so your home compost will not successfully compost your capsules.

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