Recyclable? Biodegradable? Compostable? It is truly fantastic to be able to have all these options available, allowing us to reduce our daily consumption impact on the environment :)
Nevertheless, it’s easy to be a bit lost with all these different solutions. The terminology used isn’t always very clear and doesn’t make it possible to really define the real benefits on the environment. Biodegradable, is that like bio-compostable? Recycling by throwing your products in the garbage, is it possible? Which solution is actually more eco-friendly?
With the beginning of a new year approaching, we wanted to come back on these different methods favourable to the environment et introduce our new Café Liégeois products at an ecological level for 2017!
Recycling is the most used process within « eco friendly » trends. Concretely, garbage can be presented as recyclable when it’s reintroduced into a cycle of production. For example, recycled cardboard could allow the creation of a new product made of cardboard. Magical no? It can also complete a partially new product in its creation.
Most plastics and metals are recyclable when they are assigned to the right place. Although, it is important to note that the product must be sorted before being reintroduced in the system. For a classic coffee capsule, the marc must be separated from the alloy of the capsule. More importantly, if your recyclable product is placed in the trash, it unfortunately will not be recycled :( Be careful with what you do!
According to the Bureau de normalisation du Québec (BNQ), certified “compostable products” or “OK Compost” in Europe are compostable in industry locations, which means in centralized composting sites. In itself, composting is a biological process that allows under the action of bacteria in the presence of oxygen acceleration of degradation of organic waste to produce compost. The trash decomposes itself into carbon dioxide, into water and sometimes into organic matter when exposed to very specific conditions, ending up into compost.
It is important to note that with time, certified compostable products can biodegrade in a domestic composter at a more or less slow rate depending on the usage conditions. We will discuss more specifically the process in a future post by addressing the differences between industrial composting and domestic composting :)
The « bio-degradable » question
A biodegradable product is a product that under adequate temperature, humidity or even oxygenation can be degraded by microorganisms, algae or even bacteria. This biodegradation results in the chemical and biochemical simplification of the products molecules. It is essential to note that biodegradability is one of the most important settings to characterise the environmental impact of an organic product.
For example, a dead leaf is 100% biodegradable within a few weeks in its natural state. On the contrary, a plastic bottle will degrade itself throughout a period of about 4000 years! Biodegradable? Yes, but at what price for the environment?
The outlook for Café Liégeois
Briefly, a compostable product is definitely the most advantageous solution and the way to go for coffee capsules. Even in the case where these products would be thrown into the trash, it has very good chances of ending up in an environment conducive to its decomposition.
This is the path we have decided to follow for part of our range. We are very proud to be able to release in a few weeks, the first 100% bio-compostable capsule compatible with Nespresso® machines.
Always with the objective to ameliorate our environmental balance, the recyclable packaging of the Café Liégeois capsules will be reduced by three times!
The protective bag on the capsule will also disappear to leave room for a 100% hermetic capsule. The ESE Café Liégeois pods are also disposed in a biodegradable packaging within the same principle as a paper coffee filter.