Coffee Capsule Sustainability Faceoff Winner Revealed

A study by Wageningen Food & Biobased Research (WUR) has found that compostable coffee capsules made with Ingeo polylactic acid (PLA) biopolymer from NatureWorks outperform aluminum, conventional plastics, and other compostable capsules in terms of sustainability performance. The study also considered the fate of the spent coffee grounds within the capsules, finding that compostable capsules keep both the coffee grounds and capsule materials in the loop via organic recycling, making them the most sustainable option. The study also assessed different combinations of materials and disposal methods, emphasizing their global warming potential over a period of 100 years in carbon dioxide equivalents and their Material Circularity Indicator (MCI). The study highlights that compostable capsules made with Ingeo are the most sustainable material for single-use coffee capsules, outperforming recycling scenarios for both conventional plastic and aluminum while also making disposal simple for consumers.

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