Even an Espresso can support the bioeconomy and circular economy

We can now drink our espresso and support the bioeconomy and circular economy, thanks to a wholly biodegradable and compostable coffee capsule for espresso machines. Once consumed, it can be collected with the organic waste and processed industrially to become compost. This is the circular economy principle of zero waste, according to which all used products can return to being a resource, with significant environmental benefits. The project – created and used by two of the most popular Italian companies, Novamont and Lavazza – won the Ecomondo Sustainable Development Award 2015 for the category “Waste and Resources”.

The capsule, which is compatible with a particular Lavazza coffee machine, contains two high quality blends of 100% Arabica coffee beans certified by Rainforest Alliance (one of the most important NGOs in the sector, with which Lavazza has been working for more than 10 years, and which certifies the economic, environmental and social sustainability of raw materials).

The new Lavazza coffee capsules are made of Mater-Bi® 3G, a material belonging to the third generation of Novamont’s bioplastics. Mater-Bi® 3G is made with a new thistle-based bio-polymer and contains a significant percentage of renewable resources. It is ready for organic recycling according to EU standard EN 13432 and entails a considerable reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

With this capsule, Lavazza and Novamont focused on the final stage in the life cycle of the product, which is very important not only in social and environmental terms, but also from the economic viewpoint. By valorising the “end of life” of coffee grounds, the life cycle of the product is closed, and at the same time reopened to other production cycles. Coffee grounds become humus, thus creating further value chains in a network of open industrial relations which revitalise the local territory. The output of one process becomes the input for another leading to zero greenhouse gas emissions.

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