All About Coffee & Sustainability
Compostability, Bioplastics And Biodegradability – Do You Know The Distinction?
Compostability, Bioplastics And Biodegradability – Do You Know The Distinction?

Compostability, Bioplastics And Biodegradability – Do You Know The Distinction?

We are super glad that you are here. We have obviously more blogs on coffee pods, coffee and compostable coffee capsules. Other meaningful posts on natural coffee pods are for instance from leading media publishers, or Moving Beans. In addition browse our lead article on Nespresso pods.

We are typically being asked what bioplastics are, or what is the significance of an item being compostable or eco-friendly? Exists any relationship in between bioplastics and biodegradability? How should we consumers deal with these products?

In this blog, we try to break down these principles through easy explanations that will ideally help you much better comprehend their meaning and be more aware of the options you are taking as a consumer. Let’s go step by step:


These are materials that are either stemmed from biomass (e.g. plants, such as corn or sugarcane) or are naturally degradable; or certainly feature both homes. They vary from conventional plastics because the latter are made from fossil oil (petrol). The advantages of using eco-friendly products to produce bioplastics are: boost in resource performance (e.g. use of biomass for various purposes), reduction of the carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions (those that considerably contribute to climate modification); and conserving fossil resources by gradually replacing them.

Video: Sustainable and Nespresso Pods by Moving Beans.


Biodegradation is a process – a chemical process – throughout which microbes that are offered in the environment transform products into natural substances such as water, co2, and compost (artificial additives are not required). The process of biodegradation depends on the surrounding ecological conditions (e.g. location or temperature level), on the products involved and on the process itself. This process can take brief periods of time (weeks and months) or long periods of time (tens or even centuries).

The home of biodegradation does not depend on the source material of the item but is rather linked to its chemical structure. It is for that reason crucial to understand that ‘Bio-based’ does not imply ‘naturally degradable’. In other words, plastic items made from biomass (a type of bioplastic) are not necessarily naturally degradable. On the other hand, some petrol-based plastics might be biodegradable.

The family of bioplastics can be divided into 3 main groups:

  • bio-based (or partly bio-based) but non-biodegradable plastics (e.g. PE, PP, PET, PTT or TPC-ET);.
  • plastics that are both bio-based and eco-friendly (e.g. PLA, PHA or PBS);.
  • petrol-based plastics that are naturally degradable (e.g. PBAT).


Composting is likewise a process– a chemical process. It is the procedure of biodegradation under aerobic conditions (presence of complimentary oxygen) within a time frame of 6-12 weeks. You require certain conditions of aeration, humidity and temperature level, for microbes, like fungi or bacteria and their enzymes, to be able to “absorb” the chain structure of eco-friendly plastics. The resulting end products are water, co2 and some biomass. The number and type of microbes is likewise an essential element in this procedure. There are two methods to perform this procedure: industrially or home-compost.

Industrially compostable conditions are very particular and they have been specified under the European standard EN 13432 for packaging items and adopted by the British Standard Institution under BS EN 13432 standard. Only those packaging items that satisfy the rigorous criteria of the EN 13432 requirement are granted with the accreditation of OK-Compost Industrial and can be unambiguously thought about industrially compostable. In practice, this implies that you can dispose this material in your organic waste bin for it to be sent out to the closest industrial composting facility.

Home-compostable packaging instead is not covered under one single widely-known requirement but rather within a number of country-based ones. Because the conditions in a home-compost are not that manageable as in the case of a commercial compost, this is. Under home-composting condition temperatures and humidity can vary substantially from place to place, and year on year, not constantly attaining the ideal decay in a sensible timeframe.

Nowadays, however, society and experts in the field see the requirement for moving into this direction if we wish to become more sustainable. That is why we might see really interesting developments and developments in this home-composability space in the following years. Moving Beans is a start-up that has been providing Nespresso pods for a very long time, with more info under Moving Beans. In addition go through a lead article on compostable Nespresso pods. They were one of the first to sell sustainable coffee pods.