Canada is famous for maple syrup, poutine and now, the invention of 100% compostable single-cup coffee pods.
The advent of K-Cups took the coffee category by storm, stacking up annual sales in the billions. Unfortunately it also created an enormous environmental problem. Subsequently launched “recyclable” K-Cups require consumers to break down the hot pods and dispose of components separately, still contributing to landfill.
Enter Club Coffee, a Canadian company and leading North American custom coffee roaster. I had the honour of touring Club Coffee’s facility in Toronto and learned about their journey to develop a Canadian breakthrough innovation that was long overdue. The tenacious team recognized and seized the opportunity to improve on a flawed invention.
The secret to solving the problem was planning, perseverance and partnerships with the University of Guelph’s Bioproducts Discovery & Development Centre (BDDC), Loblaw Companies Limited and several Ontario companies that would supply components.
After an arduous process that took two years, groundbreaking results were achieved with the launch of 100% compostable PürPod100. This was no half-baked idea. Coffee chaff, a waste product from coffee roasting, was diverted to make a compostable bioresin ring. It may look like plastic but the difference is that it is made with bio-based materials from renewable resources, as opposed to traditional petroleum-based plastics.
Thorough research and analysis were carried out throughout the development process. Extensive tests were conducted for biodegradation, biotoxicity, disintegration time, compost contamination, and compatibility with a variety of collection and composting processes.
The pods are certified 100% compostable by BPI (Biodegradable Products Institute) for municipal composting. Cedar Grove Composting in Seattle (Starbucks’ hometown), has accepted brands using PürPod100 for residential, commercial and institutional organic waste recycling.
Loblaw Companies was first to jump on board with PürPod100 for President’s Choice and no name coffees. Numerous North American brands have since followed.
What it means for consumers:
As K-Cups continue to flood landfills, devotees of the single-serve brew now have a more environmentally friendly option, as long as they dispose of them appropriately.
PürPod100 has opened a world of new opportunities for single-cup beverage brewing.
As a packaged food specialist, Birgit Blain transforms food into retail-ready products. Her experience includes 17 years with Loblaw Brands and President’s Choice. Contact her at [email protected]. Check out a recent rebranding project.
© Birgit Blain
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