Compostable coffee pods have just been recognized in Nature, the world’s most respected natural science research publication.
A study by researchers at the University of Tennessee’s main campus in Knoxville (UTK) assessed the environmental and economic performance of compostable coffee pods compared to plastic coffee pods.
The UTK research team reported that compostable coffee pods break down “within 46 days, proving composting to be a feasible waste stream option and a sustainable marketing edge while treading the path toward a circular economy.”
The study also found that for compostable pods, “Cost savings of 21% were realized in terms of waste disposal, in addition to creating a value-added product at the end of the coffee pods life cycle, with nutrient-rich compost being recirculated to campus gardens and farms.”
The UTK results echo findings of other studies that looked at the merits of compostable pods, such as the work of Dr. Calvin Lakhan at York University (https://bit.ly/2XPg7pd).
The researchers quantified and compared the environmental impacts of both pod formats using two well-established Life Cycle Impact Assessment methodologies and standard data sources. This enabled them to assess all stages in the life of a pod from manufacturing through to waste disposal/end of life, including factors such as material processing and transportation. They used the data to assess factors such as financial, energy and climate change implications.
Across the board, the study found a compelling case for compostable pods over traditional plastic – and publication in Nature will take the UTK findings to the global scientific community.