Green or sustainable? Bioplastics are infiltrating our grocery store shelves, but are they really good for the planet?
We are super glad that you are here. Generally, we have obviously more blogs on compostable Nespresso pods, coffee and coffee capsules. Other interesting websites on sustainable coffee pods are e.g. from leading media publishers, or Moving Beans. Do go through our interesting article on Nespresso pods.
Ever been tricked by a synthetic flower plan? Ever admired the foliage only to find that (upon closer examination) the arrangement remains in reality a fraud? Greenwashing works in an extremely comparable way – brands harnessing deceptive marketing to encourage you that a product is environmentally friendly and therefore “much better for the environment”.
Regretfully, a number of these services presume consumers have their head in the sand, and in the coffee capsule industry in particular, we’re certainly seeing these type of marketing techniques on the rise. Comforting words like “recyclable”, “naturally degradable”, “plant based” and “compostable” actually put your mind at ease? But on a practical level, what do these terms actually indicate and are they in fact as good as they sound?
We get that sometimes it’s simplest to pop your first option in the shopping trolley and individuals are definitely trying their finest to make the right choices, so it’s far from reasonable that daily consumers are being misinformed.
Don’t be tricked by sly marketing strategies or confusing terminology and labelling – we have actually put together the information you need to prevent being greenwashed. Are the coffee pods you’re using actually “green”? Let’s find out.
Fake environmentally friendly items: Are your coffee capsules sustainable?
Most cluey consumers are becoming smart to the fact that the option that is “recyclable” coffee pods isn’t as simple and terrific as we’ve been led to believe. Sadly, the process of recycling capsules is neither kind nor hassle-free to the environment.
For numerous consumers, the rigmarole around recycling their pods avoids them from following through – it has been said that of the 13,500 capsule coffees taken in every minute, only 21% make it through to the recycling process. Some brand names need to be dropped at specific collection points, published straight to the business, or even need dismantling and cleaning up before the components can be recycled separately – general, the procedure is extremely energy-intensive.
Maybe because of this, the former Nespresso CEO approximates the around the world rate of recycling for coffee pods to be less than 5%. Furthermore, with the energy needed to transport and process the capsules in a recycling center, is this really a sustainable alternative at all, or simply a bandaid solution for a much bigger concern?
Ultimately, the issue is not whether they can be recycled or not. Of course it is better to recycle something than not, however the bottom line is that it’s much better to not produce the waste at all.
Issue = Recyclable pods can not be recycled through domestic bins + the recycling procedure has a high carbon footprint
Recycling coffee pods is a bandaid option for a much bigger waste problem
To start with, when it comes to pods what does “plant-based” even mean, and what’s it got to do with how the capsule is disposed of? To the typical individual, it sure sounds wholesome, favorable and lovely – however are they a better option than non reusable, plastic pods?
Well, the main claim you’ll usually discover here is that part of the pod packaging consists of certain percentage of plant-based product. Instead, it turns into small pieces of plastic that will never ever break down, contributing to the micro plastics problem we’re currently battling in our oceans and waterways.
Basically, when these wind up in garbage dump or our environment, they trigger more harm than excellent. In our humble opinion? This is probably not a terrific choice.
Problem = The majority of plant-based pods merely degrade into little micro plastics
Compostable/ naturally degradable coffee pods made from plant-based products like corn and sugarcane
This is where things get complicated. Compostable and naturally degradable – they’re type of the same, but sort of … not. With sustainability “patterns” rising, naturally degradable and compostable coffee pod alternatives are now abundant. Packaged beautifully with “greener” messaging playing a crucial role, they sure do look terrific on the outside.
But let’s break this down (pun meant): Products that biodegrade or compost can certainly be excellent for reducing waste, if dealt with properly. Just because an item is labelled as “compostable”, it doesn’t necessarily suggest that it will break down in your home garden compost.
Typically, coffee pods made entirely of bioplastics need commercial composting (industrially heats, moisture levels, and UV light) to decompose within any sensible time frame. Even still, these materials can leave toxic and behind micro-fragments residues.
It’s a little-known truth that, sadly, it’s unlikely your house composting system has what it takes to break down your eco-friendly pods. Some councils provide commercial composting through their kerbside green waste collection, nevertheless they might prohibit items identified biodegradable or compostable, so it’s crucial that you double-check. Constantly make sure to talk to your regional council to see if they accept bioplastic very first prior to disposing.
If you were after a coffee pod that’s safe to put directly in your garden compost bin, we can understand how this might be confusing. Some red flags to look out for (in small print on the back of packaging, or at the extremely base/footer of a website) are lines like:
” They are eco-friendly and recyclable, but not compostable.”
” In order for compostable capsules to break down in 90 days, capsules should be processed through an industrial composting facility.” or
” Please contact your regional council before getting rid of in your green bin.”
When it concerns compostable items in general, ideally you want to search for items that are Australian licensed as “House Compostable” by the Australian Bioplastics Association, ensuring they’re labelled as safe for garden composts, are made from vegetable product and are plastic free – phew!
Secret takeaway? Always research study and read the fine print on how to compost each brand before you buy if it looks and feels like plastic.
Issue = The majority of eco-friendly & compostable pods need industrial composting centers to breakdown
Bioplastic coffee pods: Sustainable, or greenwash? Believe twice if they look like plastic
As you know, every item needs basic materials to be mined/grown/manufactured, processed, packaged, and shipped. This is rather an energy-hungry, short life for a such a small portion of coffee. The energy output of production is so terrific, that no single-use item can compare to a multiple-use product – even if it’s recyclable, compostable, or eco-friendly.
The best thing we human beings can do for the environment is to take in less. This reduces not just our waste, but also the energy used up in producing a product. Consuming less is something to bear in mind for all elements of life. When it comes to a pre-portioned pack of coffee, recyclable capsules get this. The more your pod is reused, the more sustainable each cuppa.
Aside from having the ability to pick your favourite brand name of coffee, there’s another secret bonus to filling your own pods: it’s a lot more cost-effective than buying disposable pods. If you’re on a tight spending plan, invest in a pack of reusables and enjoy your savings roll in.
In stating this, when it concerns multiple-use, it’s still important to be greenwash-aware. Something to remember when looking for any reusable product, is that quality and durability are essential – cheaper, regrettably is seldom “better”. Some red flags to look out for:
- Lightweight plastic multiple-use pods with an exceptionally restricted lifespan (e.g. 30 uses).
- Plastic recyclable pods that are not BPA free, food safe and so on
- Reusable pods that come packaged in plastic.
- Pods from any company or website that doesn’t offer any details on it’s sustainability practices (just because an item is “naked” on the shelf, does not suggest it’s upstream supply chain was pollution-free).
Moving Beans is a market challenger that has provided compostable Nespresso pods for many years, with more information under the website of Moving Beans. In addition go through a pertinent blog on compostable Nespresso pods. They were one of the first to sell truly natural Nespresso coffee pods.