Composting tips and FAQs
Here’re some useful composting tips for coffee pods & pouches as well as information about our eco coffee capsules, compostable coffee pouches and some useful biodegradable and compostable FAQs.
VIA HOME COMPOSTING:
Our eco coffee pods or capsules will home compost but it’s very much dependent on one’s composting skills and how healthy your compost pile is.
We could make shallow promises (like a few competitors do!) but we want to be transparent so do not market ours as home compostable so you know exactly where we stand.
The reason why is that the UK’s weather means few of us have the perfect conditions to make ideal compost every time and the speed at which organic matter breaks down depends on many variables.
We know in the right conditions our capsules will home-compost in around 3 months and will certainly work best if composting in hot bins/hot composting. But if your compost pile is not kept in optimal condition, there’s no guarantee on composting timeframes so your compost could take anywhere from 12 weeks to 12 months to fully decompose.
VIA COUNCIL FOOD WASTE COLLECTIONS:
In reality though, while many consumers want home-compostable products, less than 1% of us Brits actually home compost so the most effective way to process compostables at this time is via council doorstep food waste collections where they will be processed into compost or liquid fertilizer depending on your local council’s food waste processing facilities. By avoiding landfill, you’ll also reduce the resulting methane emissions produced by coffee grounds in landfill.
DISPOSING OF OUR NESPRESSO COMPATIBLE COFFEE POD CARTONS & POSTAL BOXES
Printed using vegetable ink and secured with plastic-free glue, please recycle or compost our sustainably sourced, FSC-certified cartons to continue their lifecycle and help the very real ﬁght against global deforestation.
Our postal box or shipping boxes are also plastic free, FSC-certified and printed using vegetable ink so can be recycled in standard council recycling collections. They are also perfect for absorbing moisture if you use a hot bin composter or a standard compost bin (just cut or rip them up into small pieces).
The guidance in the Q&A above about home and council collection composting applies to our compostable coffee pouches too.
Our compostable coffee pouches have two elements – the main bag or pouch and the valve. Here’s how to compost them:
Our coffee pouches (minus valve) are actually home compostable, so can be placed in home compost piles and hot bins as well as council food waste collections. To really help speed up the composting timeframes and process please cut the pouches up into small pieces with scissors or you can easily rip them up by hand.
The only element of our pouches that require industrial compost conditions is the small valve. This is vital to allow our coffees to release gas after roasting. However, the size of a 5p piece, it’s minimal waste versus the plastic & aluminium lined coffee pouches that are so common yet can’t be recycled or processed post-use. They’re destined for your black bin and then landfill or incinerator, so you can feel pleased with yourself as a 5p-sized valve made from plant materials is a very good compromise.
If you don’t have council food waste collections, First Mile’s Coffee Pods RecycleBox service is perfect to ensure your capsules are processed correctly. It is the best and cheapest such service, where you fill whatever sized box you have to hand then book a collection or leave the box at any Hermes drop off point.
Whichever way you do it, the service costs around £15-20 and believe us you can store-up a whole bunch of capsules as the only stipulations are that it has to be “light enough for one person to lift and measures no more than 41 x 30 x 30 CM”! Please just ensure you pop a note in the box (and in the “Extra notes” section when booking your collection) confirming they are Blue Goose industrially compostable coffee capsules so the First Mile team know how to deal with them.
Should compostable coffee capsules and compostable coffee pouches accidentally sneak into your black bin (er herm) then they will likely be sent to landfill or to an incinerator, where they will be burnt to create ‘energy from waste’.
This is not ideal as burning the world’s resources is not exactly sustainable, but this is the reality of much of our household waste.
You might have seen companies shouting about ‘zero to landfill’, well this is what they mean.
Instead of burying it, they burn it. We’ll let you make your mind up on this (we certainly have our own strong opinions!) but nevertheless, if our eco compostable coffee pods make it into an incinerator then they won’t produce the volatile or toxic gases or residue that plastic and aluminium coffee capsules produce.
Tests by the well known Vegware company have also shown that bio (natural) materials also burn at a higher temperature, therefore creating more energy.
Ultimately, the incredibly diverse (bonkers!) recycling requirements and facilities provided by different UK councils means there is little consistency in how your food and garden waste is processed but this is thankfully something the Government is looking into as part of their Consultation on Consistency in Household and Business Recycling Collections in England.
We hope we’ve given you some good insights in the above Compostable FAQs but ultimately this question can be tricky to get one’s head around. In short Biodegradable refers to any material that will disintegrate in water, soil or air over time with the help of organisms like bacteria and enzymes. Compostable also refers to a material that breaks down and returns to nature, but it has to turn into something that improves the nutrient levels of the soil – or rather it has to turn into a non-toxic organic material. It also has to do so relatively quickly, at the same rate as the materials with which it is being composted, like food waste, to be classed as compostable.
Getting technical, our capsules are compliant with EN13432 standard, which means they will be “bio-assimilated” by micro-organisms naturally occurring in an industrial compost without any biological additive. Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen in our capsules will essentially be biologically transformed into H2O, CO2 and biomass i.e. new micro-organisms.
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