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What is the difference between Biodegradable and Compostable coffee pods?

There is a lot of confusion and misinformation out there about biodegradable materials and compostable materials. We thought we should be transparent and clear up the differences and why we chose to use oxo-biodegradable pods.

Compostable Coffee Pods

Compostable coffee pods - industrial facility

Compostable materials come in two forms Industrial certified compostable and Home certified compostable. Most if not all compostable pods are certified as Industrial certified. This means they need specific conditions and environments to break down. These are usually created in an industrial composting facility where the pods get exposed to high temperatures, different bacteria and are also aerated to oxidize sufficiently. The current problem is these facilities are few and far between in Australia. Only certain councils have access to them and the infrastructure for green waste is also limited across Australia. So most compostable pods end up making their way to landfill where they break down and create methane gas and carbon dioxide into the environment (greenhouse gases which a commercial composting facility would capture).

Home Certified Compostable Coffee Pods

Home certified compostable coffee pods

The idea goal is for ‘Home’ certified compostable pods. These use materials that don’t need the same processes as Industrial certified compostable pods and can be composted in a home compost bin. This still requires your compost to be mixed and aerated and for there to be a mix of waste products eg. dead leaves, grass clippings, fruit and vegetables waste etc.

Sadly, the technology to make Home Certified compostable coffee pods is very new and, in our opinion, not ready just yet. There are a few limiting factors. Producing a Home Certified compostable pod involves making the pod strong enough to withstand the pressure of a machine, but also allow for it to break down quickly but not too quickly. It also needs to be air tight to keep the coffee fresh. As the technology is very new it is also very expensive which then makes the pods very expensive to produce and could yield unaffordable results for you the end user.

As the infrastructure for Industrial Compost in Australia isn’t sufficient we are currently researching and investigating Home Compostable materials and the technology needed to produce them.

Oxo-Biodegrdabale Coffee Pods 

Oxo-biodegradable coffee pods

Our choice of material for our coffee pods is oxo-biodegradable, meaning that once in landfill they will break down in around 2 years. We have chosen to go this direction mostly due to our preferred method of home compostable materials not quite being ready for the job.

While this is not as ideal home compostable, we believe this is still a better option than manufacturing aluminium coffee pods due to the majority of aluminium pods still not being recycled around Australia; not to mention the transportation costs and the environmental cost in regards to shipping aluminium coffee pods to the only aluminium coffee pods recycling depot in NSW from locations around Australia.

I hope this has post has been enlightening for you.

Still have a question?

Check out our FAQ's, send me an email at hello@expresspods.com.au or call us on 1800 870 144. We’re happy to help!

 

Enjoy!

Toby Strong

Founder & Happiness Hero

 

 

 

 

 


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