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Issue 04/2018

  • Text
  • Bioplastics
  • Materials
  • Biobased
  • Capsules
  • Packaging
  • Products
  • Biodegradable
  • Germany
  • Renewable
  • Compostable
bioplasticsMAGAZINE_1804

Coffee capsules & pods

Coffee capsules & pods By: Martin Bussmann BASF Ludwigshafen, Germany Enjoying coffee with compostable coffee capsules Coffee capsules are convenient for consumers, easy to dispense and practical. However, in Germany alone, they generate around 5,000 tonnes of waste each year. Compostable bioplastics by BASF for the manufacture of coffee capsules set an example against this trend – with tailored ecovio ® grades for the production of a wide range of flexible and rigid compostable packaging. Cappuccino for breakfast, an espresso in the afternoon – simply by pushing a button on your own coffee machine. Portioned capsules are particularly popular with coffee lovers as they are easy to use and make quality coffee quickly. However, the packaging potentially pollutes the environment. Commercially available capsules consist of aluminium and conventional plastic and are either burned after use or are difficult to recycle. At the same time, there is increasing public interest in sustainable products that contribute to circular economy. As early as 2013, BASF developed a biodegradable coffee capsule with Swiss Coffee Company for gourmet coffee using its certified compostable and partly biobased ecovio, which was optimised for injection moulding for this purpose. While the material had until then only been used in mulch films and bags, it was now possible for the first time to implement ecovio commercially in an injection moulding application - and at the same time meeting the particular requirements of coffee capsules: The capsule can withstand the high pressure and the heat that are generated by the machine in the brewing process. Flavour-tight barrier secondary packaging, which is also compostable, ensures that the coffee aroma is optimally maintained. The application won the 2014 Global Bioplastics Award presented by bioplastics MAGAZINE. Since this breakthrough, BASF has been working continuously on its product portfolio to enable different processing technologies for the manufacture of coffee capsules. It is focusing on improving application-specific requirements such as dimensional stability under heat and an oxygen barrier. For thin-walled capsules, the injection moulding grade ecovio IA1652 offers a greater dimensional stability under heat along with ideal mechanical stability. Now also on the market: the grade ecovio T2308, which allows thin-walled capsules to be manufactured also by thermoforming. Another milestone is the development of technologies for inserting an oxygen barrier, which means that both the injection moulding grade ecovio IA1652 and the thermoforming material ecovio TA1241 can be given an oxygen barrier during the production of the capsules. In 2017, BASF and the French company Capsul’in were awarded the Pierre Potier innovation prize for a coffee capsule made of ecovio IA1652. The award, presented by the French Ministry of Economy and Industry on behalf of the French Federation for Chemistry Sciences and the Federation of the Chemical Industry, recognises innovation in sustainable development and encourages environmentally friendly approaches. The ecovio coffee capsules, which are certified compostable, are broken down in industrial composting plants into water, CO 2 and quality compost, and metabolised by microorganisms. Within twelve weeks the capsules are degraded into industrial compost. The development of compostable coffee capsules therefore allows not only a more responsible handling of packaging, but also a transformation of the raw material back to valuable compost at the end of its life cycle and a reduction of unnecessary waste. www.ecovio.basf.com Manufactured by injection moulding: thin-walled coffee capsules made of ecovio IA1652 (Photo: BASF) Thermoformed coffee capsules made of ecovio TA1241 enable high dimensional stability under heat, good mechanical stability and at the same time a reliable oxygen barrier. (Photo: BASF) 36 bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/18] Vol. 13

Coffee capsules & pods Replacing aluminium with paper The world’s first mass produced coffee capsule made of paper is set to replace aluminum and plastic capsules. The Bremen, Germany based coffee capsule company Velibre brings onto the market the first Nespresso ® - compatible coffee capsule made of paper. “After more than two years of development, which required over a million Euros of investment, Velibre can finally present the finished version of our new paper capsule. This capsule can be put into the home compost as well as in the biowaste collection bin”, says managing director David Wolf- Rooney. The serial production has just started and the finished capsule will be available in the third quarter of 2018. Wolf- Rooney expects Velibre to produce over 300 million capsules in the next Year. “We are more than convinced of the giant potential of our paper capsule. This belief comes from the enormous interest in the Velibre capsule from various market leaders in the coffee capsule industry. It also comes from the concrete offers related to the purchase of Velibre which is in the double-digit millions. The value of the capsule will develop throughout the next years towards the 100 Million Euros level”, reveals David Mr. Wolf-Rooney. He adds: “traditional coffee capsules produce a huge amount of waste and our vision is to completely banish the use of plastic or aluminum capsules from the market. To secure this vision we will make the Velibre know-how, our technology and our production capacities freely available to all manufacturers of coffee capsules. From now on, no company has to produce environmentally harmful variants as they can get all the capsules they want from Velibre. This is the real revolution behind Velibre”. The newly developed paper capsule supports the company’s goal to systematically revolutionizing the coffee capsule market. The paper capsule can be easily recycled via home compost and – as the only capsule in the world so far – via organic waste collection systems. The capsule completely biodegrades to CO 2 , water and biomass after a few weeks, depending in the composting environment. The capsule is made of sugarcane fibers. These fibres are a residual material created in large volumes during the production of sugar. Therefore, it does not need its own land for production and it is not in any competition with food. All materials used are also 100 % free of genetically modified raw materials. The components of the capsule are already certified according to the standard EN 13432 for industrial composting facilities. For the standards Vincotte OK compost HOME and DIN-certified garden compostable the corresponding certification processes are in process. A global patent was established in 2016 for the unique product and a German utility patent has already been registered. MT www.velibre.com Magnetic for Plastics www.plasticker.com • International Trade in Raw Materials, Machinery & Products Free of Charge. • Daily News from the Industrial Sector and the Plastics Markets. • Current Market Prices for Plastics. • Buyer’s Guide for Plastics & Additives, Machinery & Equipment, Subcontractors and Services. • Job Market for Specialists and Executive Staff in the Plastics Industry. Up-to-date • Fast • Professional bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/18] Vol. 13 37

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