Canterbury Coffee Develops 92% Biodegradable Single-Serve Pod

Canterbury Coffee

by | Jul 30, 2013

Canterbury CoffeeCanterbury Coffee, a specialty coffee roaster based in Richmond, British Columbia, has developed what it says is a 92 percent biodegradable single-serve coffee cup.

Waste & Recycling News reports that Canterbury’s sustainable coffee cup is similar to Keurig’s K-Cup, but has 40 percent less plastic.

The OneCoffee cup is made of polylactic acid resin and will break down in an industrial composter or landfill. It will degrade in an anaerobic digester, without exposure to sunlight or air — but it does need moisture.

The only part of the cup that is not biodegradable is the nylon filter. Canterbury says it’s working on substituting it with a biodegradable alternative such as polyethylene furanoate.

In comparison, Keurig’s K-Cups can not be recycled in a typical waste stream, because they’re made from a combination of plastic, paper, metal and organic material.

The National Coffee Association estimates that 13 percent of Americans drink coffee from single-serve brewers now, compared to 4 percent in 2010.

Canterbury’s cups can not be composted at home, but the longer they stay in an industrial compactor, the sooner they will break down, according to the company. They are not yet available in the US, but they do meet the Federal Trade Commission’s Green Guide for the use of environmental marketing claims. The exception would be California, which has stricter standards, so the cups would need to be labeled compostable instead of biodegradable, the article says.

In June, the magazine published a story about how the industry is struggling with how to recycle single-serve pods as their popularity explodes. More than a tenth of US households — 12 percent — own single-cup coffee brewers, says the National Coffee Association, and that number is on the rise. But one-cup coffee pods are not easily recyclable, and the coffee industry is looking for more sustainable options.

Canterbury predicts that sustainable single-serve cups will become en emerging trend as more such cups hit the market.

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