Pros & Cons: Compostable cups
There is a lot of discussion going on about packaging of coffee in capsules. In this article we will inform you about the pros and cons of aluminium, plastic and plant-based coffee capsules.
Pros & Cons of plastic and aluminium coffee cups
Packing coffee in plastic capsules is cheap. Plastic is a cheap material, because it can be easily made from crude oil. The production of plastic is also far less energy intensive than the production of aluminium, but is still heavily polluting our wonderful earth. Below you can read more about the environmental impact of aluminium and plastic.
How bad are aluminium cups for the environment?
Aluminium production requires tremendous amounts of energy and requires immense heat (over 1000 C°) to melt into a usable product. It also causes widespread degradation of environments. Aluminium is a very high-quality material, ideal for use in airplanes and so on, but its production emits large quantities of CO2, Methane and toxics.
Though, there are also advantages of aluminium. It is very light-weight and can also be recycled very well. The challenge here is to set up a recycling system (for instance for aluminum capsules). Nespresso® is known for recycling there capsules, but it remains unclear (and non-transparant) to what extent this happens. Furthermore, the recycling process (pick-up, clean, remelt etc.) also consumes energy and resources.
How bad is a plastic cup for the environment?
Plastic is made from crude oil. The use of this fossil fuel contributes to our globally changing climate.
Our planet is heavily polluted with plastic. Only 14 percent of the plastic used globally is being recycled. This causes plastic to end up in places where we don’t want them; our oceans, landfills, etc. Only 1 percent of coffee capsules is being recycled.
The use of plastic capsules is a classic “take-make-dispose” approach: Take the raw material, use it only once, dispose it somewhere cheap. But we are living in 2020 now, we need to build towards a circular approach of our materials’ use. This means that we try to extend the lifetime of our products, recycle these materials and give back to nature, so that we regenerate our natural systems.
Eco-friendly coffee capsules.
At Oceano® we make our capsules from plant material, which is considered far more sustainable than plastic and aluminium capsules. We use the left-over waste that is generated in sugar production that is not serving a purpose anymore. We extend the plant materials’ lifetime by creating a usable product out of it. The bio-plastic we create is called PLA (polyactic acid) and is bio-degradable and non-toxic.