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How to define coffee capsules as sustainable?

Sustainable coffee capsules are available in most countries these days. But there are different levels of sustainability which are important to point out. Products can usually be labelled as “biodegradable”, “compostable”, or “home-compostable”. In this post we will pin point the most crucial differences between these terms.

We have often been asked ” …. but there are other brands who have the same product, how come you call yourself Denmark’s first home-compostable coffee capsule brand? ” Here is a short explanation of the different terms:

Simply, 1. Biodegradable means that the product can break down into mostly harmless compounds. However, they will break down at different rates depending on the original material which they are made out of and how much it has been processed before. Biodegradable products are broken down in way less time than non-biodegradable products. The truth is that lots of things are biodegradable if given enough time. Plastics, in particular, are known to take decades or even centuries to break down naturally, but they will break down. So, technically speaking, they are biodegradable. Even diapers, notorious for lasting a long time in landfills, will break down eventually. To sum it up, “biodegradable” is a term widely used for a wide range of products, many of these usually not compostable.

2. Compostable means that a product is capable of breaking down into natural elements in a compost environment, in an industrial composting facility. That is an important distinction. 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 where there will be no 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. So, what is the difference between Compostable and Home Compostable?

3. Home Compostable means the product degrades at lower temperatures, under natural conditions, even in garden compost. Results show no microplastics left the environment and the capsule breaks down into nutrients for the soil, making it rich and fertile. Home Compostable products need a minimum amount of energy vs. other biodegradable alternatives. That is why we chose to only sell home-compostable capsules, to make sure that you’ll 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. But who knows what the future brings, we are only hoping there will be more and more “Home-compostable” products available.  We hope this short explanation gave you a better understanding of what the different terms mean, since we for sure know it might be confusing from time to time.

Love, ideel.

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