Materials Planet Care Your Home

340: Pods for coffee


When Éric Favre, an aerodynamics engineer from the French-speaking Swiss canton of Vaud first created a system for putting coffee into single-serve aluminium capsules or pods, he little dreamed of the environmental risk they posed.

Machines that depend on hard-to-recycle pods, such as Nespresso and Keurig systems, are awful for the environment can create unnecessary landfill waste. Of the 39,000 capsules produced worldwide every minute, 29,000 of them end up in landfills. Nespresso alone made almost enough coffee pods to circle the world 26 times.


1991 saw Nespresso launch the world’s first capsule recycling system in Switzerland. By 2015 they had reached 86% global recycling capacity, achieved with the help of some 14,000 dedicated capsule collection points operational around the world (additional to over 80’000 UPS points in the US and over 6’000 Green Dot collection points in 3 countries).

Nespresso are expanding their capacity to collect used aluminium capsules to 100% wherever the company does business, thereby increasing recycling rates. Further to this, each time it makes environmental sense, they will recycle used Nespresso capsules collected by the company, reusing them as new capsules.

Another key part of this vision is for 100% of our virgin aluminium capsules to be produced with material compliant with the new Aluminium Stewardship Initiative standard, currently being developed within a multi-stakeholder program led by the IUCN.

Nespresso is not the only firm with a conscience. In 2017, regarding his creation of the Keurig machine and its plastic pod, inventor John Sylvan stated, “I feel bad sometimes that I ever did it.” Glorybrew is a Miami (Florida) based coffee brand and the innovator of the 100% compostable, single-serve, BPI and Rainforest Alliance Certified coffee pods for Keurig machines.

The ring is made using coffee chaff and the filter with renewable bio-based materials. These K-Cup pods have been proven to completely break down in about 8 weeks, becoming clean soil that can be added back into the ecosystem.

Even though Keurig has a goal to make all pods recyclable by 2021, (still 57 billion, or so, more sold pods away) Glorybrew pods will remain the greener choice both now and then. This breakdown occurs in Industrial Composting Facilities, as there is not currently a certification for backyard composting.

CBD produces 95% organic, Hemp You Can Feel Coffee, based on some of the highest quality ingredients available in the marketplace: hemp extracts, organic non-GMO starches from vegetables, honey from organic farms, and trace amounts of organic vegetable and coconut oils.

No chemicals, surfactants, or artificial processes are added to make their infusions. Their hemp extract infusions are based on BeeFuse Technology patented biomimicry composition, which is part of PhytoPharma International Ltd, was invented by Ilan B. Simon in Israel. CBD’s packaging of the coffee pod and the lid are 100% compostable within 120 days of being discarded.

What you can do: Use environmentally benign coffee pods

Discover Solution 341: Ruthenium

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