Australian supplier Capsule Pack has unveiled a 100 per cent bio-sourced and biodegradable coffee pod to help curb the country’s growing problem with used coffee capsules.
Unlike aluminium and plastic pods, Coffee Roasters Australia’s Alana Beattie says the new BioCap capsules are made from a composite material obtained by transforming cereal plants to replace petro-chemical based plastics. As a result, BioCap capsules meet the European standard EN13432 for packaging waste.
“We spent a lot of time in testing the performance of the biodegradable capsule. [They] have the same if not better performance versus the current capsules, but the difference is that they take days to compost rather than hundreds of years,” Alana says. “Some biodegradable products break down into parts, but never completely. Ours does.”
Unlike plastic and aluminium capsules that could take anywhere between 150 to 500 years to break down, the new BioCap capsules biodegrade within 180 days.
To put it into perspective, paper towel biodegrades in one year, printed materials in five years, plastic bags in 20 years, tin cans in 50 years, and plastic capsules in 500 or more years. Biocap capsules however, take just 180 days to biodegrade in normal landfill.
The capsules are heat sealed for mess-free ease of use with lids that are also sourced from biodegradable materials.
“Our pods are the first locally produced bio-degradable pods available to Australia’s coffee industry,” Alana says. “We’re really happy with their performance. It was important that we got it right not just from an environmental perspective, but from a quality extraction perspective. It’s taken years of research, lots of R&D and about six months of dedication to find a solution and the right materials to use, but we couldn’t be happier with the results.”
The biodegradable capsules we first tested by Perth-based company Community Pod. With positive feedback and results, the capsules will now be launched and marketed throughout Australia as of 3 October.
BioCap capsules are compatible with Nespresso® coffee machines.
It’s said that Australians consume three million coffee capsules a day, or more than one billion a year. Alana says she hopes that the Australian coffee industry will embrace the new BioCap capsules, helping to provide a long-term viable solution to the single serve capsule market, and reduce its environmental impact.
“The dilemma of what to do with the old-style coffee pods has emerged as an environmental concern in recent years. In some places around the world, such as the German city of Hamburg, coffee pods have even been banned from state-run buildings,” Alana says.
“We at Capsule Pack have wanted to contribute a solution to this global issue. It’s something we spoke about for a while, but we needed to action on it. We never want anything to affect the quality of our product, and finding a solution to this was our biggest challenge, and biggest triumph.”
News reports state that more than 1.5 million households and businesses in Australia own a pod machine. That number is forecast to double by 2018.
“It’s extremely concerning, but we’re proud to be an Australian company that can make a real impact in this industry for the right reasons. The capsule market is a strong growth area and Australia is seen as a world-leading coffee market. We’re admired from the US and Asia for our coffee culture, quality baristas and product. If we can provide a locally produced biodegradable capsule product that local coffee companies can offer the market, then it we are not only supporting the local coffee industry but we are doing it with minimal impact on the environment.”
Capsule Pack complements Coffee Roasters Australia by offering contract packing of capsules to Australian coffee companies and retailers. Capsule Pack can manufacture capsules for use with Nespresso® and Lavazza Blue® compatible coffee makers.
To coincide with the launch, Capsule Pack will also launch its new biodegradable range retail boxes as of 3 October.