Danimer Scientific and TotalEnergies Corbion create bioplastic coffee capsules
19 Apr 2023 --- Danimer Scientific and TotalEnergies Corbion have developed a new compostable coffee pod biopolymer that complies with proposed EU packaging regulations.
“By developing coffee pods that are fully compostable, we’ve addressed the problem of waste associated with single-use coffee pods while also eliminating the need to recycle since both our pods and their contents will biodegrade completely in both industrial and home environments,” Scott Tuten, chief marketing and sustainability officer at Danimer Scientific, tells PackagingInsights.
The companies search to solve common coffee capsule issues such as used pods containing leftover grounds, which contaminates the capsule, preventing them from being recyclable. Similarly, packaging with the claim as “home compostable” was exposed for often not properly breaking down.
Bioplastic for home compostability
The companies began collaborating a few years ago to combine their materials to make an industrial and home compostable coffee pod.
“Home compostability sets these pods apart. This can be a higher bar to clear because certain bioplastics only fully degrade under certain conditions, such as the ones found inside an industrial composting facility,” says Tuten.
The companies devised a biopolymer that blends Danimer Scientific’s polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) Nodax with TotalEnergies Corbion’s Luminy High Heat polylactic acid (PLA) material – which has been certified by Technischer Überwachungsverein as home compostable and has passed numerous biodegradability tests.
Similarly, Nescafé Dolce Gusto released a hot beverage machine system with home-compostable pods dubbed the brand’s “most sustainable system to date.” The coffee pods are paper-based, home compostable and use 70% less packaging by weight than current capsules.
Danimer Scientific and TotalEnergies Corbion’s coffee capsule is being tested in the market by numerous European companies.
The companies plan to continue a long-term collaborative arrangement for the supply of Luminy PLA, a biobased polymer used to manufacture compostable products, Danimer Scientific saying this is their first of many collaborations to come.
EU compostable regulations
Last year, legislation as part of the European Commission’s version of the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive stipulated that plastic packagings, such as tea bags, coffee pods, very light plastic bags and sticky labels for fruit and fruit and vegetables, must be compostable.
“The EU is proposing to mandate the use of compostable materials in applications that are not typically recycled. We see this as a positive step, as brand owners looking for packaging solutions would look to bioplastics manufacturers like Danimer Scientific, leading to further investment and innovation,” adds Tuten.
“We certainly believe compostable coffee pods will grow in popularity, particularly in the EU, where they are being mandated through proposed new regulations.”
Recently, the European Bioplastics association called on the EU Parliament and Council to include coffee capsules in the proposed list for mandatorily compostable packaging applications as set out in the EC’s proposal for revised packaging rules (PPWR).
Tuten says that if the current packaging proposals made by the EU become law, it hopes and expects the packaging industry to start adopting solutions to stay in compliance. He continues that the packaging industry will follow if consumers push toward compostability and bioplastics.
“We think that as consumers grow more comfortable with single-use bioplastics and understand the many ways they’re superior to traditional petrochemical-based plastics, they’ll adjust their purchasing habits accordingly. We hope to see an eventual shift to composting at home to reduce pressure on landfills.”
“We hope that policymakers outside of the EU will also consider how compostable bioplastics can offer a practical solution to the problem of plastic waste,” Tuten concludes.
By Sabine Waldeck
This feature is provided by FoodIngredientsFirst’s sister website, PackagingInsights.
To contact our editorial team please email us at email@example.com
Subscribe now to receive the latest news directly into your inbox.