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The 'biodegradable coffee pod'
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Biome Bioplastics, a UK specialist in bioplastic technology, has helped to develop what it claims is a ‘biodegradable coffee pod’.
There are now around 50 different coffee pod or capsule systems on the market, but their convenience comes at a price. An estimated 9.1 billion single-serve coffee and drink cartridges wind up in landfills every year, amounting to some 19 million cubic feet of waste. Coffee-pod machines are increasingly popular in Britain with usage up by 45.1% between February 2012 and 2013, equating to around 186m capsules.
Biome says that the drawback is that 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.
In response to the perceived challenge, Biome Bioplastics claims to have developed a portfolio of compostable materials for coffee pods based on renewable, natural resources including plant starches and tree by-products. These bioplastics are reported to 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”, said 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 now says it 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.