STiR Tea & Coffee Industry International

Volume 4, Number 5

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48 STiR tea & coffee industry international / Issue 5, 2015 (October/November) By Anne-Marie Hardie From Cup to Compost TORONTO, Canada North American households love single-serve's convenience and variety but are increasing- ly concerned about its ecologically heavy footprint. Convenience remains the primary driver but sales momentum is slowing and roasters, retailers, and brand managers acknowledge that marketing 20 billion capsules per year produces a lot of packaging waste. Mintel International found that two in five single-cup coffee consumers (44%) are drinking single-cup less often due to its environmental impact. Nine in 10 single-cup users (88%) say all packaging should be biodegradable or compostable. August coffee consumption data compiled by StudyLogic for the National Coffee As- sociation (NCA) showed 16.6% growth in US single-serve servings to 1.6 billion capsules per month compared to 1.4 billion in August 2014. The annual growth rate is expected to reach $7.75 billion by 2020, according to Mintel. Household penetration continues to rise. An estimated 50 billion capsules will be discarded globally this year. Reducing waste is a priority for every key player in the industry, including Toronto- based Club Coffee, one of North America's oldest and largest private label roasters. "There is a real sustainability issue when it comes to the amount of packaging now going into landfills that wasn't going there before," said Claudio Gemmiti, Club Coffee's senior v.p., innovation and strategic growth. "So what could we do?" he asks. The company decided that producing a recyclable product was not the best choice. At its core recycling coffee pods is just not convenient, explains Gemmiti. Municipal recycling guidelines require consumers to break the capsule open, separate the coffee grounds or tea leaves from the lid, and sort plastic components. Club Coffee wanted a less complicated solution: an entirely compostable cup. Inventing certifiable materials Every component in the capsule design plays a critical role in ensuring the best quality cup. Club Coffee's existing capsule design made good coffee – the problem was the ma- terials used in manufacturing. None of the capsules in the market were readily recyclable, much less compostable. "It required Club Coffee to develop three entirely new materials, all of which break down in composting facilities to obtain BPI (Biodegradable Products Institute) certification," said Gemmiti. BPI certified products must be made of approved materials that leave no residues after processing in municipal or industrial facilities. The certification process itself is administered by NSF International. The unique properties of all three major components of the existing design – capsule, ring, filter and lid, had to be replicated using compostable materials – some of which didn't even exist "You are going to have a hard time making this work without entirely different materials," said Gemmiti. Club Coffee's certified biodegradable capsule, a first, paves the way for sustainable single-serve Capsules by the billions Coffee chaff, above, is used to make compostable ring for PürPod100 capsule

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