Frequently Asked Questions - Compostable Coffee Capsules

Industrial Compostable Coffee Capsules Certification #AS4736-2006  

Q: Are the capsules home compostable?

A: No. These pods are only Industrially Compostable through industrial composting facilities which have the ability to break down the materials. They have not been tested to determine if they are home compostable. Home compostable pods will be released in the future however only industrial compostable composting can guarantee the right environment to ensure the whole product can be composted.  

Q: Why is industrial composting of compostable capsules beneficial

A: Biggest gain in the use of compostable capsules is in diversion of waste from land fill to be processed in a controlled environment and turned into useful compost matter.

Q: Can I put the used capsules in my green bin?

 A: Compostable coffee capsules can be successfully processed through normal organic recycling process without concern of soil contamination as it conforms to the Australian standard AS 4736-2006 requirement for biodegradable plastic suitable for composting. Some councils accept industrially compostable materials from curbside collection but not all. Customers must check with local council to see if they will accept products to be industrially composted.

Q: Are the capsules also recyclable as well as compostable?

A: No. The pods are not suitable for curbside recycling collection. 

Q: What are the capsules made from?

A: Made from natural substances containing bio-polymers and cellulose fibres. Capsule body- Bio-polymer made with poly lactic acid, Label- Multi layer cellulose film, Rear lid- cellulose film.

 Q: What is the lid made of? 

A: Made from natural substances containing bio-polymers and cellulose fibres. Bio-polymer made with poly lactic acid and selected cellulose fibres

 Q: Will the pods biodegrade if I throw them in the garden?

A: No. The Pod material is developed from specific bio-based material that allow the Pod to be used effectively in Nespresso coffee machine systems.  These materials will completely biodegrade in efficiently run industrial composting facilities where specific conditions can break down the coffee pod material. You can remove the coffee grounds and use them in the garden if you wish

Q: Are the pods biodegradable AND compostable?

A:  Yes , when treated in industrial composting facility. The conditions have been tested to the Australian Standard for Industrial Compostability. AS 4736-2006.  

Q: How long do the pods take to decompose?

A: 90% of the coffee capsule must be degradable to smaller than 2mm within a 12 week test period (under controlled conditions as per AUST STD 4736-2006).

 Q: What does Industrially Compostable mean?

A: This means they are compostable in Industrial facilities which are purpose built to provide the specific environmental conditions to compost materials on a very large scale.

Q: What does biobased mean?

A: Bio-based means the pod material is derived from naturally occurring materials. These coffee pods (capsule body, label & lidding) has a bio-based carbon content rating of 3 as certified by OK Compost logo. Meaning a minimum of 60- 80%.

 Q: Is bio-based the same as biodegradable

A: No. Bio-based means made of naturally occurring materials. Most bio-based materials are biodegradable or compostable and this varies depending on the composition of the actual product concerned. Biodegradable means an item will degrade/breakdown in the environment and eventually ‘disappear’.  

Q: How can you claim the pods are compostable? 

A: The pods are certified Industrially Compostable by the Australian Bio-plastics Association. In order for them to be certified they must pass strict testing according to the standard AS 4736-2006. Capsules without this certification can’t be accepted by industrial compost facilities and therefore you can’t guarantee they will break down.

Q: Do the capsules contain plastic?

 A: Capsules and lidding do not contain plastic or aluminium.

 Q: Do your capsules contain aluminium?

 A: Capsules and lidding do not contain plastic or aluminium.

 Q: How do I send my coffee pods to be industrially composted?

A: Head to ​the Terracycle Website and look for the Roast N Return Compostable capsule program. Customers​ will follow the instructions to print a return reply paid label. Once the used capsules are cooled and dried,  customers should place them into their coffee capsule carton (or an appropriate package/box) and apply the printed return label and seal. Drop off your parcel at your local post office or a street post box. Your parcel will be delivered to an industrial composter for processing.

 Q: Can I still return my coffee capsules if I have already thrown away my coffee capsule carton?

 A: Yes. You may return your coffee capsules with any recyclable carton (package/box) as long as it fits within the weight and dimensions of the reply paid post label.

Q: Where are the coffee capsules sent to be industrially composted and what once composted what happens to the remains?

A: Capsules are sent to Terracycle, a world leader in waste management recycling services, for composting.

Q: What is the difference between Home Composting and Industrial Composting?

A: Industrial composting and home composting work in the same way by using organic matter, oxygen, heal and other elements to break down materials but only Industrial Composting has higher temperatures and moisture rate and better control of these functions to guarantee items will compost. Home compostable items will work in industrial composting facilities but it doesn’t work the other way around.  Home composting requires a very very specific set of conditions including temperature, organic matter in the right quantities to ensure products will break down over a 6 month period.  

Q: Do I need to pay to return my coffee capsules?

 A: We recommend this be free of charge to your customers as a value added service. There is a fee to participate in the Roast and Return Program.