The home-compostable coffee capsule from Golden Compound has been subjected to a sustainability analysis according to the VDI-4605 standard (Verein Deutscher Ingenieure). The new coffee capsule made of bio-based plastics and sunflower husks has been compared with a conventional coffee capsule made of aluminium. The outcome shows that the Golden Compound coffee capsule is evaluated better than the aluminium capsule in the VDI sustainability analysis. Even though there is no difference between the two capsules in the sum of the environmental indicators, the Golden Compound capsule is clearly advantageous in the social aspects. Its advantages lie primarily in the potential reduction of waste streams and consumer acceptance. The advantages of the capsule based on sunflower husks are primarily in the potential reduction of waste streams and consumer acceptance. In addition, the use of land for agricultural use is seen more positive than the use of land for aluminium production which requires bauxite mines and retention basins for red mud, the highly alkaline waste from processing bauxite into alumina.
Both systems are still seen as having potential to improve their sustainability performance. For the aluminium capsule, e. g. efforts towards recycling seem promising and the Golden Compound coffee capsule also still has potencial to further optimise its sustainability through economy of scale in future capacity expansions and through possible process- and material optimisations.
The study is free of charge and available in English and German here: www.renewable-carbon.eu/publications/