The European commission is proposing to make single-serve coffee units mandatorily compostable and calls on the EU Parliament and Council to uphold this specific proposal. One possibility is to use bioplastics as an alternative material.
Coffee makes up approximately 80 percent of a coffee capsule, by weight. Capturing the capsules’ main component — the coffee — via organic recycling could ensure greater value retention. For instance, compost containing coffee grounds has several benefits when used as a soil amendment, such as an improved C/N ratio. In any other end of life option, the valuable organic material is simply lost. An Impact Assessment by the European Commission therefore concludes that compostable coffee capsules are a preferred option from a Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA) point of view.
The industry association European Bioplastics (EUBP) supports the intention of the EU Commissions proposal to make coffee capsules generally compostable. “While we regret that currently only a limited number of applications have been suggested to mandatorily be compostable, we wholeheartedly support the Commission’s inclusion of coffee capsules in the listing of products that, in the future, shall be allowed to be placed on the EU market only if certified compostable, as part of the Commission’s proposal for a revision of the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR)”, says Hasso von Pogrell, Managing Director of EUBP.
If all single-serve units on the market are compostable in industrial composting facilities, in compliance with EN 13432, consumers are not confused where to dispose their coffee capsules after use, the association argues. At the same time, the organic recycling operators would have the peace of mind that whatever single-serve unit enters their facilities is safe, in a sense that it can biodegrade like the rest of the input material and does not leave persistent microplastics.
In addition, given that separate collection of biowaste will be mandatory from beginning of 2024 in EU, there would be no need for a dedicated separate infrastructure build up for collection, sorting and organic recycling of certified compostable coffee capsules.
Stand vom 23.03.2021
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