Capsule Systems

Compostable capsules

COMPOSTABLE CAPSULES

The coffee world has seen a change in terms of attention to the environment and product eco-sustainability, and Co.ind plays an active part in this process of change.

Rightly so, attention is being increasingly focused on the impact coffee capsules and pods have on the environment, and the trace they leave on the world once they reach the disposal phase.

Like ESE pods, compostable capsules meet the demands for eco-sustainable products customers increasingly make to companies. Through its business collaborations, Co.ind has gained knowledge and experience in the production of compostable coffee capsules, and can put its know-how to use to create distributor-branded solutions.

The production of private-label compostable capsules embodies everything Co.ind can offer its clients in terms of product quality and performance. In addition to the flavour and aroma of great coffee, this solution also embodies all the values in which the company believes and which it passes on to the final consumer. Values such as eco-sustainability, also recognised in the many certifications awarded to Co.ind, respect for workers in the production countries, being an active player in the fair trade market, and respect for nature and the ecosystem by roasting coffee sourced from organic farming.

Production of private-label compostable capsules

With extensive experience in its cooperation with Coop and Novamont, Co.ind supplies its know-how to clients intending to market their own compostable coffee capsules.

Its experience with Coop began thanks to the joint aim of both companies to supply high quality food products that stood out for their ethical merits.

Tintoretto capsules are part of the Coop FiorFiore range of gourmet products, and this is why Co.ind obtained VINCOTTE OK Compost and COMPOSTABILE CIC (Consorzio Italiano Compostatori) certifications.

Thanks to this partnership, Co.ind has also been able to cooperate with Novamont, the company which created Mater-Bi®, a special bioplastic, made 100% with organic material which can be disposed of in the organic bin along with the coffee grounds, thus being as virtuous and eco-sustainable as pods.

These compostable capsules were designed to be disposed of as organic waste, in specific industrial separated waste collection plants.

In addition to the flavour and “green” nature of the coffee, we must also consider the aspects concerning, presumably in future, the laws on the production of coffee capsules.

We may recall the world-famous case of the German city of Hamburg, one of the world’s first cities to ban traditional coffee capsules from its municipal administration as they are considered to be pollutants. This is why we can envisage that in future the research and marketing of biodegradable capsules will become increasingly important.

The preferences expressed by consumers and the search for increasingly virtuous solutions has driven Co.ind to study and master the production of compostable capsules, thus offering the best possible quality to businesses wishing to market their own capsules.

Compostable and biodegradable are not synonyms.

In everyday language we often use the terms “biodegradable” and “compostable” as synonyms, but that is not quite right.

The two terms actually refer to completely different properties of the two materials, and in fact a biodegradable object is not also necessarily compostable.

The term biodegradable indicates a material which, very simply, can decompose in the environment in water, carbon dioxide or biomass, thanks to bacteria, micro-organisms and atmospheric agents. Technically speaking any material is biodegradable: traditional plastic produced from petroleum has a biodegradability rate of around 1000 years, a nappy 500, while bioplastic decomposes in between 6 and 9 months.

This means that the most important variable is time. Confusion was added by the legal use of the term according to EU parameters.

The European Community in fact established that a product must have a degradability rate of 6 months to be defined biodegradable, thus giving the word a technically incorrect meaning.

The difference with the term compostable thus concerns the decomposition time. The EU also established that compostable materials must have a maximum degradation time of 3 months. We can therefore see that a compostable material is certainly biodegradable, but this also explains why the opposite is not true.

In addition to this, the term compostable also identifies another property of a material, i.e. that of being recovered and disposed of as organic separated waste. In this way, bioplastic returns to nature in the form of compost, which is useful for soil fertilisation.

What is the difference between plastic and bioplastic?

Having illustrated the undoubted advantages of Co.ind compostable capsules, it is worth looking at them in more detail, to understand how they were born and what materials made their creation possible.

Compared to traditional plastic, bioplastic is a type of plastic the main characteristics of which are that of being both biodegradable and compostable.

It is important to know that, compared to many biodegradable materials, bioplastic can be thrown in the organic waste without any problem, while often other biodegradable materials have to be thrown in the general waste or in special containers, but not in the organic waste.

The most common example are shopping bags. We need to pay attention and understand whether they are made from bioplastic or not. If they are, throw them away in the organic bin, otherwise throw them in the plastic waste.

In addition to waste separation, traditional materials are different from bioplastic due of course to the material they are made from. These are natural materials, fibres which are commonly found in many foods or plants. The main types of bioplastic are:

  • Based on starch, found in pasta, rice and potatoes.

  • Cellulose based, similar to paper.

  • Protein based, made with wheat gluten or casein.

These bases may also be mixed with other materials derived from organic chemical compounds which are in any case compostable and eco-sustainable.

The impact of the production of compostable capsules on the circular economy

The production of compostable capsules is also virtuous for the circular economy. Once they are separated, they can also be used to create compost.

Compost is an excellent fertiliser used to enrich the soil for the cultivation of fruit, vegetables, industrial crops, flowers and plants, public green areas and areas of natural interest. The process by which it is obtained is called composting.

As we have seen, the fertiliser is obtained from organic waste: leftover food, paper, bioplastic, coffee grounds and other matter.

Correct organic waste disposal is an important and active part, aiming to create the virtuous circle of the circular economy. The combined action of businesses, institutions and final consumers leads to a sustainability approach, which in turn contributes to savings in raw materials and the local community and lower energy consumptions, with concrete advantages for citizens, the business system, quality of life and the environment.

The production of private label biodegradable coffee capsules is therefore an activity which for Co.ind means not only a commitment to production and marketing but also a concrete contribution to helping the environment and fighting pollution.

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Subject: Compostable capsules
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