Green or sustainable? Bioplastics are infiltrating our grocery store racks, however are they truly helpful for the planet?

Green or sustainable? Bioplastics are infiltrating our grocery store racks, however are they truly helpful for the planet?

June 01, 2021

A big welcome to our day-by-day blog on eco-friendly coffee pods. One can discover a lot of intriguing facts, so we really hope. Other educational articles on natural coffee pods are for instance from leading media publishers, or Moving Beans. Alternatively read our related article on coffee pods.

Ever been fooled by a synthetic flower arrangement? Ever marveled at the foliage just to find that (upon closer examination) the bouquet is in fact a scams? Greenwashing operate in a really similar way - brand names utilizing deceptive marketing to encourage you that a product is environmentally friendly and for that reason "better for the environment".

Sadly, a number of these companies assume consumers have their head in the sand, and in the coffee pods market in particular, we're definitely seeing these type of marketing tactics increasing. Comforting words like "recyclable", "biodegradable", "plant based" and "compostable" truly put your mind at ease, right? But on a practical level, what do these terms really indicate and are they really as good as they sound?

We get that sometimes it's simplest to pop your first option in the shopping trolley and people are certainly trying their finest to make the best options, so it's far from fair that everyday shoppers are being misguided.

Don't be deceived by sly advertising techniques or complicated terminology and labelling - we've compiled the details you need to avoid being greenwashed. So, are the coffee pods you're using actually "green"? Let's learn.

Fake environmentally friendly products: Are your coffee capsules sustainable?

A lot of cluey customers are ending up being smart to the fact that the service that is "recyclable" coffee pods isn't as basic and terrific as we've been led to believe. The procedure of recycling capsules is neither hassle-free nor kind to the environment.

For lots of customers, the rigmarole around recycling their pods avoids them from following through - it has actually been said that of the 13,500 capsule coffees consumed every minute, only 21% make it through to the recycling procedure. Some brands require to be dropped at particular collection points, posted straight to the business, or even need disassembling and cleaning prior to the parts can be recycled independently - total, the procedure is extremely energy-intensive.

Maybe because of this, the former Nespresso CEO approximates the worldwide rate of recycling for coffee pods to be less than 5%. With the energy required to transfer and process the capsules in a recycling facility, is this truly a sustainable choice at all, or just a band aid service for a much bigger concern?

Ultimately, the problem is not whether they can be recycled or not. Naturally it is much better to recycle something than not, however the bottom line is that it's better to not produce the waste at all.

Issue = Recyclable pods cannot be recycled through domestic bins + the recycling procedure has a high carbon footprint


Recycling coffee pods is a band aid solution for a much larger waste issue

First of all, when it comes to pods what does "plant-based" even indicate, and what's it got to do with how the capsule is dealt with? To the average person, it sure noises wholesome, favorable and charming - however are they a better option than disposable, plastic pods?

Well, the primary claim you'll generally find here is that part of the pod product packaging consists of specific percentage of plant-based material. Frequently, the materials will be stemmed from a renewable resource, such as corn or sugarcane. If you look carefully, frequently these are also identified as "degradable". Here's the kicker: degradable is not to be puzzled with biodegradable, since anything that is degradable will not fully break down into the soil when it ends up in land fill. Instead, it develops into small pieces of plastic that will never ever break down, adding to the micro plastics issue we're currently fighting in our waterways and oceans.

Essentially, when these wind up in landfill or our environment, they trigger more damage than great. In our humble viewpoint? This is probably not an excellent option.

Video: Sustainable and Nespresso-compatible Pods by Moving Beans.

Issue = the bulk of plant-based pods merely deteriorate into little micro plastics

Compostable/ biodegradable coffee pods made from plant-based products like corn and sugarcane

Compostable and biodegradable - they're kind of the very same, but kind of … not. With sustainability "trends" on the increase, eco-friendly and compostable coffee pod alternatives are now numerous.

Let's break this down (pun meant): Products that biodegrade or compost can definitely be fantastic for minimizing waste, if disposed of properly. Simply due to the fact that an item is labelled as "compostable", it doesn't necessarily suggest that it will break down in your home garden compost.

Normally, coffee pods made entirely of bioplastics need industrial composting (industrially heats, wetness levels, and UV light) to decay within any affordable timespan. Even still, these materials can leave harmful and behind micro-fragments residues.

It's an obscure truth that, unfortunately, it's not likely your house composting system has what it requires to break down your biodegradable pods. Some councils offer industrial composting through their kerbside green waste collection, nevertheless they may prohibit products labelled naturally degradable or compostable, so it's important that you double-check. Constantly make sure to contact your local council to see if they accept bioplastic very first prior to getting rid of.

So if you sought a coffee pod that's safe to put straight in your compost bin, we can comprehend how this could be confusing. Some red flags to keep an eye out for (in fine print on the back of packaging, or at the very base/footer of a site) are lines like:
" They are recyclable and naturally degradable, however not compostable."
" In order for compostable capsules to break down in 90 days, capsules need to be processed through a commercial composting facility." or
" Please contact your regional council before disposing in your green bin."

When it pertains to compostable items in general, preferably you want to search for products that are Australian accredited as "Home Compostable" by the Australian Bioplastics Association, ensuring they're labelled as safe for composts, are made from vegetable product and are plastic free - phew!

Secret takeaway? If it feels and look like plastic, constantly research and read the small print on how to compost each brand before you buy.

Issue = the majority of biodegradable & compostable pods require industrial composting facilities to breakdown

Bioplastic coffee pods: Sustainable, or greenwash? Think twice if they look like plastic

As you know, every item needs raw materials to be mined/grown/manufactured, processed, packaged, and shipped. This is quite an energy-hungry, short life for such a small portion of coffee. The energy output of production is so great, that no single-use product can compare to a multiple-use product - even if it's recyclable, compostable, or naturally degradable.

The very best thing we people can do for the environment is to take in less. This lowers not only our waste, but also the energy expended in producing a product. Taking in less is something to bear in mind for all elements of life. When it comes to a pre-portioned pack of coffee, reusable capsules get this. The more your pod is recycled, the more sustainable each cupped.

Aside from being able to choose your favorite brand name of coffee, there's one more secret benefit to filling your own pods: it's a lot more affordable than buying disposable pods. If you're on a tight budget, invest in a pack of reusables and watch your savings roll in.

In stating this, when it pertains to multiple-use, it's still crucial to be greenwash-aware. Something to bear in mind when looking for any recyclable item, is that quality and durability are essential - cheaper, sadly is hardly ever "much better". Some red flags to look out for:

• Flimsy plastic recyclable pods with an exceptionally restricted life expectancy (e.g. 30 uses).
• Plastic multiple-use pods that are not BPA free, food safe etc.
• Reusable pods that come packaged in plastic.
• Pods from any service or website that does not supply any info on its sustainability practices (even if an item is "naked" on the shelf, doesn't imply its upstream supply chain was pollution-free).

We at coffee company Moving Beans are a market challenger that has been providing compostable Nespresso pods for a long time, with much more news at the website of Moving Beans. Do browse a pertinent article on compostable coffee pods. We were the first to deliver truly compostable coffee pods.



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