The current way we are living is not sustainable. We are extracting resources at a tremendous rate, using them up, and chucking them away mindlessly. This open-loop model is putting our planet under immense strain, and is in need of a serious rethink. Global momentum is beginning to shift towards a new, more circular way of thinking.
A similar story exists for aluminum, which is created through the extraction and processing of a soft mineral-laden rock called bauxite. This process requires copious amounts of electricity, water and resources, and is associated with significant greenhouse gas emissions. After use, aluminum is either disposed of in landfills (taking around 500 years to decompose), or is incinerated, releasing large amounts of toxic compounds into the air.
But things aren’t all doom and gloom, there is another way. Green Ring coffee capsules are created from compostable plant-based plastics (PLA). This material is cleverly designed to decompose, leaving nothing but healthy biological nutrients, which can be safely returned back into a closed-loop cycle.
The secret lies in the material used in our plant-based capsules. We make them entirely from sugarcane and sugar beet (sweet, right?). This means that under certain conditions the capsules will fully break-down into compost.
Most coffee capsules use an aluminium sachet to keep the coffee fresh, but we don’t. Aluminium not only leaves a nasty toxic trail after disposal, but is also non-renewable, and requires lots of energy and chemicals to produce. Instead, we have built in a plant-based oxygen barrier to keep our coffee fresh. This means that our entire capsule, can be chewed up, and spat out by our little microbial friends, leaving behind biomass, CO2 and water.
How to use our green coffee capsules?
Simply use the Green Ring capsules the same way you would any other coffee cap. They work in all Nespresso® Machines. Unfortunately, they cannot be used in built-in machines like Miele, Gaggia, Saeco and Siemens, nor in machines with a capsule holder. Once you have enjoyed your coffee and it is time to throw the cap out, remember these aren’t no ordinary caps!
We recommend popping them in the organic waste bin. So they can be whisked away to an industrial composting plant. Composting at home comes with its difficulties. Finding the sweet spot where the microbes in your home compost pile can flourish can be quite tricky. The pros at an industrial composting facility can do this with ease, and in their hands, it will take around 12 weeks for the caps to decompose.
If you throw away your used capsules in the regular waste bin, then they may end up in landfill, recycled, or incinerated. In all three cases, the Green Ring coffee capsule will have less of an impact than the conventional coffee capsules. But to get the best out of our caps, put them in the bio-bin.
Cradle to Cradle
The lifecycle of a plant-based coffee capsule
The Green Ring coffee caps that you run through your machine every morning are actually grown in Thailand. Perhaps that sounds a little strange, but it’s simple really. Our suppliers grow the sugar plants that are used to form the PLA in a plantation in Thailand. The sugar is collected and converted into PLA by a company called Corbion. This works through a process called microbial fermentation. The PLA is made into pellets, and is then ready to be moulded into a coffee cap. They are then filled with one of our coffee blends, packaged in sustainably sourced packaging, and with a little bit of luck, bought buy a coffee lover.