When I last worked as a waiter we served espresso from a small machine that could draw a single demitasse serving. The machine, from France, used proprietary mesh pods, a precursor to capsules. I had no opinion in the early 1980s about any environmental issues with pods, but I did have an opinion, thanks to my French colleagues, that the espresso the machine produced was perfect. These days I do not drink espresso often. I believe a brewed arabica is a better beverage both gastronomically and ecologically. I have also developed an opinion about the ecological problem with single-serve technology, and I remain skeptical even as I read a headline like this:
Lavazza launch comes amid rising concern over where 20bn single-serve plastic pods end up
The first compostable one-cup coffee pods from a major manufacturer will go on sale this week in a battle to stop the 20bn pods used every year around the world from ending up in landfill.
Italian espresso giant Lavazza is aiming to replace its entire range of home use capsules with new eco-friendly ones – at the same retail price – by the end of the year.
It is thought that 95m cups of coffee cups are drunk in the UK every day, but increasingly popular single serve pods have become an environmental scourge – typically ending up in landfill where they can take up to 500 years to break down. The 20bn capsules currently consumed every year are enough to circle the Earth 14 times.
The complexity of packaging – often a mix of different materials such as plastic, foil and aluminium – combined with used coffee dregs – can make them difficult to recycle and process in standard municipal recycling plants.
Lavazza says its new biopolymer-based Eco Caps break down into compost in as little as six months when combined with food waste for council collection. Provided local authority rules allow it, used capsules could be thrown in the food waste bin.
However, where this is unavailable, Lavazza has teamed up with waste collection service TerraCycle to establish a network of public access drop-off points for consumers to dispose of capsules which need to be industrially composted.
David Rogers, managing director of Lavazza UK, said: “This major investment confirms our commitment to excellence and sustainable development.”
Read the whole story here.