Now it’s possible to use compostable coffee capsules. Here’s what’s happening in the OCS market.
Coffee capsules are responsible for a revolution in the way the world consumes its favourite beverage. You can’t help but notice the OCS machine invasion: they’re colourful, fun and practical; they’re prevalent in offices and they are an elegant addition in homes the world over. Think of our Flexy, a real beauty with incredible design: it’s only 12cm wide! The downside is that this rise in the consumption of coffee capsules has brought with it a hefty price tag when it comes to the environment. The numbers are huge: 10 billion capsules sold all over the world become 120,000 tonnes of waste –most of it plastic. Clearly, intelligent solutions are urgently needed…
Environmentally friendly capsules: fact or fiction?
Many solutions have been found to date. What’s critical is the finished product. In other words, the sustainability of the packaging mustn’t compromise the quality or the aroma of the coffee. It’s a difficult compromise to achieve. Lavazza and Novamont have made compostable capsules in bio-plastic Mater-Bi which, as well as its contents, is 100% recyclable. They’re already planning its evolution, focussed on using azelaic acid, a natural substance found in wheat, rye and barley, which is already used in phyto-cosmetics.
‘Life Pla4coffee’ is another European project, aiming to make biodegradable capsules by 2018, which will gradually replace the PE, PET and aluminium capsules currently used in Europe. Life Pla4coffee is employing an Italian company that operates in Belgium. Not much is known about the companies involved, or about the project itself. What we do know is that the formula will contain polylactic acid, which is often used in cosmetic surgery.
The same secrecy prevails in another interesting project involving one of the most important European packaging companies. Market gossip suggests that this solution could be a turning point in portioned capsules. The technology employed is said to be multi-layered and has been researched in collaboration with an internationally renowned roaster, whose identity has been concealed…
So, stay tuned! We promise we’ll spill the beans as soon as we can…. green capsules are a hot topic.