Looking for coffee pods that are compostable? You’re not alone. Experts estimate that the sale of coffee pods will have a compound growth rate of 3.1% between 2020 and 2025. Thus, making the convenient pods unsustainable and a persistent issue in terms of global plastic pollution.
Thanks to an increase in popularity, coffee pods are here to stay. The issue with coffee pods is the recycling. Coffee pods are difficult to recycle; however, some brands have made it their mission to make their pods compostable:
- San Francisco Bay Coffee
- Oakland Organic Coffee Club
Not only will this article tackle compostable coffee pods, but it will also provide you with information and statistics on the coffee pod industry. Of course, you’re entirely welcome to brew a cup and have a seat while reading.
Are There Any Coffee Pods That Are Compostable?
In the United States, compostable coffee pods are difficult to find. But with the two companies mentioned above leading the way, and so many people caring about the environment, compostable coffee pods are sure to become more popular.
Initially, manufacturers intended for consumers to use coffee pods in offices. However, the reality is often disappointing, and they found popularity in homes and other residential areas.
Why? Because they’re convenient. Not only do consumers cut costs (no need for $20 coffee from Starbucks), but they could also make their favorite cup of coffee in the comfort of their home.
Where Did The Coffee Pod Problem Come From Anyway?
But that didn’t come with its share of problems. At the beginning of the coffee pod life cycle, manufacturers made them out of plastic. They still do; however, some brands have diverged from that manufacturing standpoint. This reason is also why this informative article exists.
Back to the matter at hand, manufacturers made coffee pods out of plastic. It was the more efficient decision from a manufacturing standpoint. However, local recycling companies or authorities can’t recycle coffee pods.
Manufacturers make coffee pods out of plastic and aluminum foil, making the recycling process tedious. Finally, it got to a point where local recycling authorities would not accept coffee pods. But how bad could that be?
In 2018, manufacturers produced 59 billion coffee capsules. So imagine this scenario, millions of consumers use millions of coffee capsules, but there’s nowhere to recycle the used pods. It’s an environmentally unfriendly mess.
All these paragraphs bring us to the core of this article: compostable coffee pods that you can use to save the environment and reduce your carbon footprint.
What Does It Mean For You To Consider Coffee Pods As Compostable?
The National Resources Defense Council or the NRDC states that composting is a natural process. This natural process involves recycling organic matter into valuable fertilizer that you can use in the soil to grow plants.
It’s essentially the circle of life. The only catch is that you can only recycle organic matter. What’s organic matter? Organic matter is anything that was previously alive that’s in the soil.
Earlier, this article informed you that manufacturers make coffee pods from plastic. Therefore, you cannot categorize plastic as organic matter. However, you can consider biodegradable plastic. But that’s a story for another day.
Back to compostable coffee pods, you can consider coffee pods as compostable if they consist of plant material. If a manufacturer makes coffee pods out of plant material, it falls in the organic recycling bin, and it doesn’t need a unique recycling bag.
Are Coffee Pod Recycling Bags Not Compostable?
Companies like Nespresso offer recycling options for their consumers’ used coffee pods. However, if you go to their website, they have broken down the recycling process of their coffee pods.
Firstly, Nespresso offers biodegradable coffee pods. However, the EPA or the Environmental Protection Agency shares that compostable plastic is biodegradable, but not all biodegradable plastic is compostable.
It’s a puzzle within a puzzle; however, the fact still exists that the coffee pods consist of plastic. This reason is why companies like Nespresso have turned to using specialized recycling bags for coffee pods.
After using your coffee pods, you have to put the used coffee pods in a unique recycling coffee pod bag, and the company will collect them. You don’t have to clean it out. But you can’t say the same thing for all companies.
These instructions only apply to Nespresso.
Regardless, the recycling bag method is excellent; however, the fact remains that the coffee pods are plastic, which sometimes doesn’t make them compostable.
This article has thrown around two terms:
Firstly, there is a difference between these two terms. It’s all dependent on the timeline. Recyclable means that the coffee pods (or anything else you can recycle)are taken and reused. Most of the time, you can utilize recycled raw materials.
On the other hand, composting takes coffee pods made out of organic matter and turns them into helpful soil material. Composting is great because it takes a shorter period to break down, and environmental experts recommend compostable products.
Another term is biodegradable. Like composting, it breaks down matter. However, the breakdown process can take decades. The catch is that the breakdown process must not cause any environmental harm.
Essentially, the brands that this article will mention below are compostable coffee pods. These coffee pods consist of plant material with a short breakdown process that does not cause any environmental harm.
You should also note that this article will not look at recyclable coffee pods. This is because those coffee pods still consist of plastic, whether biodegradable or not. Therefore, the list will be short and sweet.
Is There A Difference Between K-cups And Pods?
Now that this article has adequately laid out its essential foundation, it’s time to get into the thick of things. First, however, there’s just one more thing to note—the difference between K-cups and pods.
You’ve heard of K-cups; that’s their nickname in the coffee world. Their government name is the Keurig Cups.
The company, Keurig, makes them. The company was also known initially as Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. You might have seen these coffee capsules since they dominate the coffee pod market.
K-Cups are a category of their own. Keurig creates coffee pods for Starbucks and other mainstream coffee brands. Here are the characteristics of a K-Cup:
- The coffee capsules consist of plastic
- They are the most common coffee capsules in the market.
- Their sustainability is debatable.
What about coffee pods? Here are the characteristics of coffee pods:
- Coffee pods are typically from independent brands.
- They take a small portion of the coffee capsule market.
- The coffee pods are compostable.
So yeah, it’s safe to say that K-cups and coffee pods are two different entities. However, coffee pods shine in terms of sustainability, especially when it comes to compostability.
Nevertheless, K-cups or Keurig Dr. Pepper try to reduce their carbon footprint by choosing recycling and biodegradable plastic as their alternatives. So you could say that everyone is trying to do their part in their way.
Which Coffee Pods Are Compostable?
After many days and sifting through a lot of content on the internet, two brands stuck out as coffee brands that produce compostable coffee pods.
You may or may not have heard of these brands. They are independent brands known by environmental enthusiasts who love a good coffee cup that doesn’t negatively impact the climate.
Not only are they convenient, but they also make recycling more accessible and have a reduced carbon footprint which is great if that’s what you’re looking for from a coffee pod.
San Francisco Bay Coffee
As the name suggests, it’s a coffee company located in San Francisco. Their coffee pods are BPI certified. BPI, also known as the Biodegradable Compost Institute, is a leading certifier of compostable products in the North American region.
Any product that is BPI certified has gone through rigorous testing and verification to ensure that they meet industry and scientific standards. If you head on over to the BPI website, you can search for any product that the organization has certified.
San Francisco Bay Coffee has all its products on that list. Every single one of their blends is certified. In addition, the coffee pods consist of plant-based material, which compostable stands for in the coffee pod industry.
One thing to note about this coffee company is that their pods are industrially compostable and not home compostable. What does that mean? It means that you would have to take them to an industrial compost facility if you procured them for an office or a company.
But if you have their pods at home, you might need to have a unique recycle bag to dispose of the pods. However, that doesn’t change the fact that they are compostable.
What if you can’t get a specialized recycling bag? You can throw the coffee pods in the organic recycling bin. The coffee pods consist of plant-based materials that are entirely compostable.
What else is great about these coffee pods? The bag that the coffee pods come in is compostable and BPI certified as well. It’s like a Matryoshka doll, a doll within a doll, but in this case, a compostable product inside a compostable product.
So you don’t have to worry about the negative impact of the packaging since it also aligns with the brand’s environmental goal.
Lastly is the issue of accessibility. How can you get this compostable coffee pod? You can either buy or join the San Francisco Bay Coffee subscription and get your daily dose of coffee by going to their website.
A variety pack of their coffee pods can range from $21 – $50. It depends on the pack and what you want in it. They offer 120 counts of coffee pods or 80 counts of coffee pods. The decision is up to you.
A single coffee pod goes for $6.99 on their website. Moreover, SFBay Coffee delivers across the country for easier accessibility. For more information on their pricing, be sure to check out their website or send them a message on social media platforms or email them if you want that formal appeal.
Oakland Organic Coffee Club
Similar to the San Francisco Bay Coffee, Oakland Organic Coffee follows the same environmentally friendly principles. Both the pods and the packaging consists of compostable plant-based material.
The exciting thing about this artisan coffee house is that the coffee pods are compostable, but the coffee is organic. It means that the coffee beans are grown without any artificial substances. Everything about the coffee is grown and produced naturally.
Going organic is an excellent way to keep their coffee different from other artisans in the industry. How can you purchase their coffee pods? You can check out their website and order your coffee pods.
You can either buy the coffee separately or join their subscription service. The choice is all up to you, and at the end of the day, you’ll end up with an environmentally friendly cup of coffee.
The last part about Oakland Organic Coffee Club is that celebrities own it. For example, members of the rock band Greenday own and manage the company. So, when you get onto their website and see that they are also selling vinyl records, don’t be surprised that things are grinding and turning in that shop.
These two artisan coffee companies make a small portion of the compostable coffee pod market. However, loyal customers support these artisan coffee companies.
Not only that, but the coffee companies and their customers take ‘going green’ pretty seriously. If these principles and business practices appeal to you, be sure to check them out. Don’t be afraid to try out their products; you might find something new and delicious.
|Coffee Pods||BPI certified||Compostable||Organic Coffee||Biodegradable|
|San Francisco Bay Coffee||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Oakland Organic Coffee Club||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
Which Taste Better, K-cups Or Coffee Pods?
The taste issue might be a big one, mainly if you’re more familiar with a specific type or taste of coffee. For example, coffee enthusiasts know artisan coffee for its flavorful coffee. Their coffee is different from typical coffee because they have a higher standard.
You can think of it as buying a hat. You can buy a baseball hat anywhere in any city in the world. But what if you got a hat that a specialist made specifically to fit your head?
The best thing about artisan-made coffee is that it’s cheaper than K-cups. Yep. It might come as a shock to most of you reading this article. So let’s look at the numbers.
A single K-cup goes for $11.62 while a coffee pod goes for $6. A $5 difference can go a long way. So maybe going compostable is the cheaper and better alternative for not only the planet but also your bank account.
It’s a win-win situation, and you have nothing to lose. Regarding the taste, try out the compostable coffee pods and run with them if you like them. Not all heroes wear capes.
Compostable coffee pods are the solution to the negative impact caused by plastic coffee capsules. Unfortunately, not only do coffee plants release greenhouse gases, but coffee pods take a long time to decompose, and some aren’t recycled adequately at all.
Millions of coffee capsules, pods, and K-cups are produced every year. If they all turned compostable, it would be a step in the right direction. That journey, however, starts with you.
Are You Interested In What Other Environmental Enthusiasts Are Asking? Here Are Some Extremely Helpful FAQs.
Which Coffee Pods Are The Most Environmentally Friendly?
Compostable coffee pods are the most environmentally friendly of the bunch. It means that the coffee pods take a short time to decompose, and you can use the remains in the soil. So how do they do that?
Compostable coffee pods consist of plant-based materials. So you’re using plant-based material to help enrich the soil and grow other plants or other coffee beans. It holds no harmful impact on the environment.
Are Compostable Coffee Pods Really Compostable?
Yes, they are compostable. Compostable coffee pods consist of plant-based material, which takes 84 days to decompose. This period is relatively short compared to biodegradable coffee pods that take up to a decade to decompose.
Not only that, but compostable coffee pods are BPI-approved. The BPI scientifically tests and verifies the coffee pods’ ability to decompose naturally and non-harmful way.
You can check the BPI website to ascertain whether your coffee pods can decompose in a compostable manner.
Are Compostable Keurig Pods Actually Compostable?
Unfortunately, they are not compostable. The K-cups are, in fact, biodegradable. You can confirm that on the Keurig website. It means that the coffee pods consist of plastic that can decompose.
However, it will take up to a decade for the coffee pods to decompose. It’s not sustainable, but it tries to solve the problem of recycling coffee pods. Keurig is a dominant player in the coffee pod industry, and many people use their coffee pods.
According to Keurig, by 2025 majority of their coffee pods will either be recyclable or compostable. Only the future will tell on which decision the company will make.