Whether used for coffee, tea, or baby food, capsules made from aluminum or plastic are now a must-have in many households. To improve their ecological footprint, Greiner Packaging is currently working on a solution made from compostable polymer, so that customers can easily recycle used capsules on their own backyard compost heaps. The process of having the sustainable packaging certified by TÜV AUSTRIA BELGIUM nv started in February, with completion expected in the fall.
Greiner Packaging has been successfully producing packaging solutions for the booming capsule market for many years. Coffee capsules are already commonplace in many offices and homes, but tea, cocoa, and even baby food and various soft drinks are increasingly being packaged this way, too.
Precise production process
Greiner Packaging has an ultra-precise production process in place and uses barrier technology to guarantee the perfect taste. This protects the packaged product from external influences such as oxygen penetration, extending its shelf life and ensuring that optimum flavor is retained. Multibarrier technology (MBT) can be used in combination with thermoforming, injection molding, and in-mold labeling.
Disposal in home composters
When it comes to sustainability, many people are critical of capsules – but this form of packaging is more environmentally friendly than its image might suggest. After all, it provides the product with the best possible protection, preventing it from spoiling and going to waste. The coffee inside the capsule is precisely measured, with one capsule per cup meaning that the consumer never uses too much – making that cold coffee left over in the pot, which no-one actually drinks, a thing of the past. If Greiner Packaging has its way, the packaging will become even more sustainable in the future. The company is currently producing the first capsules made from a compostable polymer, which can be easily recycled in a home composter. “It was important to us to find a solution that would meet our high-quality standards for product protection and would also be sustainable, environmentally friendly, and user-friendly,” explains Taner Ertan, international business development manager at Greiner Packaging. “After extensive research, we decided on a polymer which is compostable and has good barrier properties.We have already put this material through an initial series of successful product tests.”
The process of having the new home compostable capsule certified by TÜV AUSTRIA BELGIUM nv has also been underway since the beginning of February. The goal is for it to receive the OK Home Compost certificate, which is only awarded to products that can be composted at low temperatures – for example, in the composter in a consumer’s backyard.
Biodegradable products on the rise
“Organic material accounts for around 50% of all household waste. That figure will loom even larger in the future due to the increasing popularity of biodegradable products, such as packaging materials and disposable cutlery. We want to make a contribution here, too,” Ertan adds. The TÜV certification process for the final home compostable capsule should be completed by the fourth quarter of this year, with the capsule available in the colors black and white, additional colors will follow.