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Ever been fooled by a synthetic floral arrangement? Ever admired the foliage just to find that (upon closer evaluation) the arrangement is in fact a scams? Greenwashing works in a very comparable way – brand names harnessing misleading marketing to convince you that an item is eco-friendly and for that reason “better for the environment”.
Regretfully, a lot of these organizations presume customers have their head in the sand, and in the coffee capsule market in particular, we’re definitely seeing these sort of marketing methods growing. Comforting words like “recyclable”, “biodegradable”, “plant based” and “compostable” really put your mind at ease, right? But on a practical level, what do these terms really imply and are they in fact as good as they sound?
We get that in some cases it’s most convenient to pop your first option in the shopping trolley and people are certainly trying their finest to make the right options, so it’s far from fair that daily consumers are being deceived.
Do not be tricked by tricky marketing strategies or complicated terms and labelling – we’ve put together the information you need to prevent being greenwashed. Are the coffee pods you’re utilizing in fact “green”? Let’s learn.
Fake eco-friendly products: Are your coffee capsules sustainable?
The majority of cluey customers are becoming smart to the fact that the option that is “recyclable” coffee pods isn’t wonderful and as simple as we’ve been led to believe. The process of recycling capsules is neither kind nor convenient to the environment.
For lots of customers, the rigmarole around recycling their pods prevents them from following through – it has actually been stated that of the 13,500 capsule coffees taken in every minute, just 21% make it through to the recycling process. Some brands need to be dropped at particular collection points, published directly to the company, and even require disassembling and cleaning up before the components can be recycled independently – general, the process is extremely energy-intensive.
Perhaps because of this, the former Nespresso CEO approximates the worldwide rate of recycling for coffee pods to be less than 5%. With the energy needed to carry and process the capsules in a recycling center, is this truly a sustainable option at all, or just a bandaid solution for a much larger 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 better to not produce the waste at all.
Problem = Recyclable pods can not be recycled by means of domestic bins + the recycling procedure has a high carbon footprint
Recycling coffee pods is a bandaid solution for a much bigger waste problem
To start with, when it pertains to pods what does “plant-based” even mean, and what’s it got to make with how the capsule is disposed of? To the average person, it sure sounds wholesome, beautiful and favorable – but are they a much better choice than disposable, plastic pods?
Well, the primary claim you’ll typically discover here is that part of the pod product packaging contains certain percentage of plant-based product. Instead, it turns into tiny pieces of plastic that will never break down, contributing to the micro plastics issue we’re currently fighting in our oceans and waterways.
Basically, when these wind up in land fill or our environment, they cause more harm than good. In our modest opinion? This is probably not a terrific option.
Issue = The majority of plant-based pods merely deteriorate into little micro plastics
Video: Sustainable and Nespresso Pods by Moving Beans.
Compostable/ eco-friendly coffee pods made from plant-based materials like corn and sugarcane
This is where things get made complex. Biodegradable and compostable – they’re kind of the very same, but type of … not. With sustainability “trends” rising, biodegradable and compostable coffee pod choices are now plentiful. Packaged magnificently with “greener” messaging playing an essential function, they sure do look excellent on the outside.
Let’s break this down (pun meant): Products that biodegrade or compost can definitely be terrific for minimizing waste, if disposed of correctly. However, even if a product is identified as “compostable”, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will break down in your home garden compost.
Normally, coffee pods made totally of bioplastics need business composting (industrially high temperatures, wetness levels, and UV light) to disintegrate within any sensible time frame. Even still, these materials can leave behind micro-fragments and poisonous residues.
It’s an obscure reality that, regrettably, it’s unlikely your house composting system has what it takes to break down your naturally degradable pods. Some councils offer commercial composting through their kerbside green waste collection, however they may prohibit items identified compostable or naturally degradable, so it’s vital that you verify. Constantly make sure to consult your local council to see if they accept bioplastic first before getting rid of.
So if you sought a coffee pod that’s safe to put straight in your garden compost bin, we can comprehend how this could be confusing. Some red flags to keep an eye out for (in small print on the back of product packaging, or at the really base/footer of a website) are lines like:
” They are recyclable and biodegradable, but not compostable.”
” In order for compostable capsules to break down in 90 days, capsules should be processed through a commercial composting center.” or
” Please contact your local council before getting rid of in your green bin.”
When it concerns compostable items in general, ideally you want to look for products that are Australian certified as “Home Compostable” by the Australian Bioplastics Association, guaranteeing they’re identified as safe for garden composts, are made from veggie product and are plastic complimentary – phew!
Key takeaway? If it looks like plastic, always research and check out the fine print on how to compost each brand name before you buy.
Issue = Most compostable & naturally degradable pods require commercial composting centers to breakdown
Bioplastic coffee pods: Sustainable, or greenwash? If they appear like plastic, think twice
As you understand, every product requires raw 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 manufacturing is so terrific, that no single-use item can compare to a reusable product – even if it’s recyclable, compostable, or eco-friendly.
When it comes to a pre-portioned pack of coffee, multiple-use capsules get this. The more your pod is reused, the more sustainable each cuppa.
Aside from having the ability to select your preferred brand name of coffee, there’s another secret benefit to filling your own pods: it’s far more economical than buying non reusable pods. So if you’re on a tight budget plan, buy a pack of reusables and enjoy your cost savings roll in.
In stating this, when it pertains to multiple-use, it’s still important to be greenwash-aware. Something to keep in mind when searching for any multiple-use item, is that quality and longevity are essential – less expensive, sadly is hardly ever “better”. Some red flags to watch out for:
– Flimsy plastic reusable pods with an exceptionally restricted life-span (e.g. 30 usages).
– Plastic multiple-use pods that are not BPA complimentary, food safe and so on
– Recyclable pods that come packaged in plastic.
– Pods from any organization or site that doesn’t supply any info on it’s sustainability practices (just because an item is “naked” on the shelf, doesn’t indicate it’s upstream supply chain was pollution-free).
Moving Beans is a market challenger that has provided compostable Nespresso pods for a very long time, with much more news under the website of Moving Beans. Do read a pertinent article on compostable Nespresso pods. They were one of the first to deliver truly sustainable Nespresso-compatible coffee pods.