Biopolymer-based coffee capsules perform better: study

Cápsulas de café a base de biopolímeros tienen mejor rendimiento estudio
13 December, 2023

Coffee capsules made with NatureWorks Ingeo™️ PLA biopolymer outperform aluminum, conventional plastics and other compostable capsules when it comes to sustainability performance, a new study has revealed.

Independent research by Netherlands-based Wageningen Food & Biobased Research, part of Wageningen University & Research (WUR), assessed the environmental impact and circularity of single-use coffee capsules made from bio-based materials compostables, aluminum and conventional plastics across multiple end-of-life scenarios, including:

  • Industrial composting
  • Recycling
  • cremation
  • The landfills.

The study also took into account the fate of the used coffee grounds inside these capsules and found that those that are made with compostable materials keep both the coffee grounds and the capsule materials in the loop through organic recycling, which which makes them the most sustainable option.

The Ingeo-based thermoformed capsules used in the study were produced by NatureWorks partner and food packaging producer Flo SpA.

This study meticulously evaluated different material combinations and disposal methods, emphasizing their global warming potential over a 100-year period in carbon dioxide equivalents, as well as their materials circularity indicator (MCI).

“The MCI integrates critical factors such as recycling rates, recycled content, recycling process performance, bio-based content, reuse, and average product life,” said Erwin Vink, chief sustainability officer at NatureWorks.

“Originally developed by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and tested by leading European companies with real-world product data to ensure robustness and relevance across the economy, the MCI is the most comprehensive tool for measuring materials circularity and provides science-based insights.” to guide the sustainability of materials. options,” he added.

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