BASF creates a new way to drink coffee

BASF Australia Ltd
Wednesday, 10 July, 2013

BASF’s compostable bioplastic ecovio has found its first production application in a system solution for coffee packaging. BASF has collaborated with the Swiss Coffee Company to develop a coffee capsule with aroma-tight outer packaging.

This is also the first application for the injection moulding grade ecovio IS1335. The material is used in combination with an ecovio-based multi-layer system with specific barrier properties.

The packaging protects the product during transport and storage, and withstands use in high-pressure coffee machines. Once the capsule has been used, it can be composted.

BASF launched the plastic ecovio six years ago. It is biodegradable and compostable as defined by Standard EN 13432. It is predominantly based on renewable resources and is proven in a variety of film applications. It is primarily used to produce bags for collecting biodegradable waste and mulch film for cultivating fruit and vegetables.

In late 2012, the Swiss Coffee Company launched a range of coffee in compostable plastic capsules in an aroma-type barrier packaging, together with a range of coffee machines, under the brand name beanarella. The company’s founders came up with the product idea in 2011, and after a record completion time of only 13 months, the beanarella biodegradable coffee capsules were on the market.

Not only is the ecovio plastic certified as biodegradable, compostable packaging to Standard EN13432, the coffee capsules themselves are, too. The barrier packaging is also made of biodegradable components.

The capsule structure consists of three functional layers: the outer paper-based carrier layer is followed by a thin barrier film as a middle layer and an inner sealing layer based on ecovio. All three layers are certified as biodegradable, compostable packaging to Standard EN 13432. The layers are bonded together with BASF’s compostable laminating adhesive Epotal Eco.

Leomat, an office furnishings provider in eastern Switzerland, supplies the complete beanarella system to its customers and also collects the waste. An internet ordering system for private customers is being developed. The Swiss Coffee Company will arrange for the return of the used capsules and packaging once the consumer has finished with the product.

BASF has conducted in-house research that confirms degradation of the used coffee capsules in an actual composting environment. During the pilot phase, the Swiss Coffee Company will itself handle composting of the capsules under industrial conditions in Switzerland. Leomat will transport both the capsules and the outer barrier packaging to the company for composting.

In May 2013, the Swiss Coffee Company received the IDEE SUISSE Golden Idea Award 2013 for the compostable coffee capsule concept. The company now plans to introduce its product and concept in Germany, Austria and the US.

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