Biodegradable vs. Compostable Coffee Pods: A Simple Guide

Coffee Pods

In recent years, the difference between biodegradable and compostable has become muddled. It is time to clarify and establish what makes the two different, particularly on the topic of coffee pods. 

In this article, we will explore the differences between biodegradable and compostable coffee pods.

What Are Compostable Materials?

At present, there are two types of compostable materials. The first one is industrial certified compostable, and the second one is home certified compostable. The former is the widely used variant in the pod market today.

Industrial certified pods are known for breaking down quickly compared to other traditional materials, but they only do so under particular conditions and environments. You need an industrial composting facility to expose the pods to high temperatures and various types of bacteria. The materials need to be exposed to air for sufficient oxidisation.

If That’s The Case, Then What’s the Issue?

Only a few of these facilities exist in Australia, and only select councils can access them. Additionally, only a limited number of infrastructures are meant for green waste. If industrial compostable pods found their way there, the facility would have to send all of them to a landfill. This is because the facility would have difficulty separating the pods from green waste. The green waste and pods would break down in the landfill and produce methane gas and carbon dioxide.

What Is the Ideal Solution for This Situation?

Since the chances of the government creating more industrial composting facilities are low, the next choice would be to use home certified compostable pods. These don’t need to undergo the same process as their industrial certified counterparts because they can be placed in a home compost bin. This would still require your compost to be mixed and aerated with other waste products, such as grass clippings and dead leaves.

Why Doesn’t Everyone Use Home Certified Compostable Pods?

Unfortunately, home certified compostable technology is still in the early stages and is faced with various limiting factors. The technology used is expensive, and the costs trickle down to the customer. The product design is also a challenge since the materials used for these pods are not very durable and usually cannot withstand the pressure in a pod machine.

Homemade certified compostable pods can also break down before use, causing the pod itself to break. This results in the coffee getting oxidised, which affects the taste. Despite these challenges, work is still being done for new technologies and methods to make home compostable pods better.

What Alternatives Can You Use?

The usual alternatives are traditional plastic pods and aluminium. Unfortunately, these materials cannot be recycled in a home recycling bin. There are pod companies that have set up collection systems to gather and recycle them for you, but only a fraction of the pods go to these systems.

Should I Try Biodegradable Pods?

At present, coffee pods made from biodegradable materials are the ideal choice. They can break down in a landfill in around two years. 

Pods have a significant effect on our environment, which is why we are promoting the usage of biodegradable ones over aluminium and plastic. By making the switch, you will be able to enjoy your coffee in the most eco-friendly way possible.

Drink Your Coffee and Be Environmentally Friendly

Eco coffee pods can be biodegradable or compostable. Although these two types differ, they are still equally environmentally friendly. As we await the further evolution of home compostable coffee pods, we can rely on biodegradable coffee pods to do the job.

Pod Life Coffee sells the best Australian coffee pods available online. Our plant-based eco coffee pods are biodegradable and compostable. We also sell the first Nespresso® compatible coffee pods in the country. For inquiries, contact us today.