David Stuart

Coffee pods that are rightfully going to waste

IT TAKES up to 500-plus years for a single plastic coffee pod to degrade in the environment and 150-200 years for an aluminium capsule.

But ecoCaffe Company managing director Michael Scott says "an environmental disaster is entirely avoidable in just 180 days".

That's how long it takes for Australia's first biodegradable coffee pod to break down - and it's less than orange peel or this newspaper you're reading.

READ MORE: Environmental problem brews with 3 million coffee pods a day

EcoCaffe Company launched the distribution of Swiss-owned Ethical Coffee Company biodegradable capsules in November last year. The pods, compatible with most Nespresso machines, are made from vegetable fibre and starch, and can be thrown in household trash or green waste without question.

"The huge rise in consumption of coffee pods is impacting Australian landfill in a big way," Mr Scott said. "When there's an alternative capsule that biodegrades in just 180 days and the coffee is as good as any other on the market, it makes no sense to have to accept the volume of waste."

Mr Scott said he abandoned his Nespresso machine some years ago, panged by guilt. "With the best of intentions I simply wasn't getting around to recycling the pods and so I gave it up rather than continue to dump the waste in the rubbish," he said.

"I had been looking for worthwhile opportunities after years with corporates and came across a story about a Swiss startup (Ethical Coffee Company) that had won some very significant anti-trust court cases in the European courts.

"I approached the founder of that startup, the former Nespresso CEO JP Gaillard, about extending their solution into Australia and we went from there. In the end I have a small business in a David vs Goliath battle but I am happy, the work we are doing is very meaningful and we provide awesome coffee."

The biodegradable Italian espresso pods can be purchased from http://www.ecocaffe.com.au.