Over the past few years, single-serve coffee makers have revolutionized the way we drink coffee but they come with a steep price of increased waste as each individual pod goes straight to landfills. However, there may be a solution to our love of the single cup coffee maker as a UK natural plastic developer, Biome Bioplastics, has developed a biodegradable coffee pod. This is just the latest of many great recycling achievements coming out of the UK, which include more biodegradable Medium Density Fiberboards and a machine that recycles shoes.
Every year, it is estimated that 9.1 billion single-serve coffee pods end up in U.S. landfills. The New York Times reports in 2011 alone seven percent of all cups of coffee consumed in the United States were made with a single-serve coffee maker.
The problem is only getting worse as the single-serve coffee maker’s popularity spreads worldwide. In Britain, single-serve coffee makers usage has increased by 45.1% from February 2012 to 2013, resulting in 186 million pods in landfills.
Biome Bioplastics’s new coffee pod is made of a combination of renewable natural resources, including plant starches and tree byproducts. This combination of resources will allow the pod to easily degrade into compost.
Biome Bioplastics CEO, Paul Mines told FoodBev, “The challenge is to reduce environmental impact through packaging optimization without impacting on food quality or safety, or inconveniencing the customer. Bioplastics are an important part of the solution.”
This is great news for coffee lovers who love the efficiency of single-serve coffee makers but hate the waste it produces. Although consumption of coffee looks to be more environmentally friendly, let’s not forget growing coffee itself has environmental impacts! Until then, enjoy the knowledge that one day soon your coffee pods will make great additions to your compost pile and not your landfill!