Waste Management

  • Lavazza Launches Compostable Coffee Pods

Lavazza Launches Compostable Coffee Pods

Nov 27 2019

Italian coffee behemoth Lavazza has become the first major manufacturer of one-cup coffee cups to introduce a compostable version of its product. The company announced that the first pods went on sale at the beginning of the month, with Lavazza targeting a complete replacement of all of its existing options with biodegradable alternatives by the end of the year.

The news is welcome to coffee drinkers and environmentalists all across Britain. At present, an estimated 20 billion one-cup coffee pods are consumed every year, which is enough to encircle the whole planet an astonishing 14 times. Unfortunately, due to confusion around what can and can’t be recycled, as well as the difficulties associated with doing so, mean that as much as 75% of those pods end up in landfill.

A dire state of affairs

While Great Britain might be traditionally more associated with tea, coffee has become increasingly popular on our shores in recent years. It’s estimated that as many as 95 million cups of coffee are drunk across the UK every single day, with one-cup coffee pods now one of the preferred methods of getting a caffeine fix in the morning.

However, the complicated packaging of the pods, which combine different materials like aluminium, foil, plastic and environmentally-damaging microplastics, make them hard to recycle – especially after they are covered in used coffee grounds. Worst still, the guidelines on which materials are appropriate for recycling are often unclear, with as many as 72% of Britons admitting they are confused by what they can and cannot recycle.

Lavazza leading by example

With the launch of their compostable pods this month, Lavazza have become the first major manufacturer to embrace a more sustainable business model. Providing your local council allows it, their pods can simply be thrown into the food waste bin. For those where this is not possible, Lavazza have teamed up with waste collection company TerraCycle to provide an alternative solution in the form of a public access drop-off point.

Of course, Lavazza are far from the first company to pioneer eco-friendly capsules, but they are the first to do it on such a large scale. Other frontrunners in the industry until now have been smaller, independent coffee pod manufacturers, such as online company Halo. “The coffee revolution has happened and one of the key challenges the industry now faces is the millions of tonnes of waste created as a result,” says Richard Hardwick, co-founder of the firm. “Most people don’t understand the irreversible damage these coffee capsules are inflicting on the planet.”

Cleaning up coffee’s act

Lavazza’s move is just one of a number of ways in which coffee's pollution can be reduced. Others include phasing out the use of takeaway coffee cups in cafes and stores, which are also difficult to recycle and more often than not end up in landfill. Consumers can enact this change themselves by carrying a reusable drinks container with them as part of their daily routine.

Meanwhile, a Californian start-up company has attempted to create a convenient solution to the same problem in the shape of their disposable coffee cups. Reduce. Reuse. Grow have launched a range of single-use cups that contain plant seeds inside, so that they can be buried and create new life after their purpose has been served.


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