Rogers Family Company has developed a single-serve coffee product that it says is 97 percent biodegradable.
The company says an estimated 9.1 billion single-serve coffee and drink cartridges — some 19 million cubic feet of waste — wind up in US landfills even year. Its OneCup Bio aims to reduce this waste generated by the industry.
Rogers Family says the OneCup Bio has the highest percentage of biodegradability of any single-serve coffee product. The company is also working to make the product’s mesh filter biodegradable to render the OneCup Bio waste-free. The filter is Bio’s only non-biodegradable part.
The company says OneCup is composed of bio-based material from renewable natural resources including vegetable oil, various plant starches and tree by-products. OneCup will degrade in an anaerobic environment. OneCup does not need sunlight or air to degrade. If exposed to moisture, OneCup will biodegrade and not leave any measurable toxic residue, according to Rogers Family.
Canterbury Coffee, a specialty coffee roaster based in Richmond, British Columbia, in July developed what it says is a 92 percent biodegradable single-serve coffee cup.
At the time, Waste & Recycling News reported that Canterbury’s sustainable coffee cup is similar to Keurig’s K-Cup, but has 40 percent less plastic.
The only part of the Canterbury cup that is not biodegradable is the nylon filter. The company says it’s working on substituting it with a biodegradable alternative such as polyethylene furanoate.
More than a 10th of US households — 12 percent — own single-cup coffee brewers, says the National Coffee Association, and that number is on the rise. But one-cup coffee pods are not easily recyclable, and the coffee industry is looking for more sustainable packaging options.
Single-cup brewers are a growing trend among consumers. While just 12 percent of US households own a single-cup brewer — up from just 3 percent in 2007 — 36 percent of those say they acquired it in the past six months.