Sustainable coffee capsules have grown in popularity because people have started to care not only where their coffee is coming from but also where their coffee capsules are ending up after they have been used.
Every step towards sustainability is a step towards a better world, but there are different levels of sustainability which we believe are important to take into consideration.
We have often been asked…
“…but there are other brands who are compostable, how come you call yourselves ‘Denmark’s first home-compostable coffee company?
Sustainable coffee capsules are usually labeled under one of the following categories:
In this post we will pinpoint the main differences between these terms.
Biodegradable means that a product can break down while getting assimilated into the natural environment, or in other words, a product has the ability to “go back to nature” without causing any harm to nature itself.
However, each product will break down at a different time frame depending on the original material which it was made out of and how much it has been processed before.
Biodegradable products are broken down in a fraction of time than non-biodegradable products. For comparison, a biodegradable soap is disintegrated within 6 months of being used. On the other hand, aluminum is known to take approximately 250 years to break down, while plastic is known to take approximately 450 years. But even though a certain material may take centuries to break down, given time, it will eventually happen, so technically every material is biodegradable. To sum it up, “biodegradable” is a term used for a wide range of products, which may be considered biodegradable but usually are not compostable.
Compostable means that a product is capable of breaking down into natural elements in a compost environment, in an industrial composting facility. This is an important distinction because compostable products do not biodegrade naturally in a landfill. They have to be placed in the right kind of conditions (temperatures +50°C and more), conditions that are often only found in industrial composting facilities. The products will take much longer to break down if in a landfill, especially an “air-locked” landfill with no presence of oxygen. As more and more compostable products become available on the market, it is crucial to point out the difference between the two main types of compostability.
Home-compostable means a product has the ability to break down at lower temperatures, under natural conditions, such as in a garden compost. Results show no harmful elements are left in the environment and the capsule breaks down into nutrients for the soil, making it richer and more fertile. To break down, home-compostable products need a minimum amount of energy vs. other biodegradable alternatives.
This is why we chose to only sell home-compostable capsules, to make sure that you will not feel guilty about your environmental impact after having a convenient cup of coffee.
Currently we are the only company in Denmark selling home-compostable certified capsules and we sincerely hope there will be more and more home-compostable products available in the market, for the sake of the planet we live in.
We hope this brief explanation gives you some clarification of what the different terms mean, since we also needed to do some research to better understand them ourselves.
More: Read our blog post ‘Home-Compostable Coffee Capsules 101’ to better understand the benefits of home-compostable coffee capsules.