NatureWorks, a manufacturer of low-carbon Ingeo PLA biopolymers, and coffee handler, processor and packager, IMA Coffee, announced that they have entered into a joint strategic partnership aimed at accelerating the market for high-performing K-Cup compatible compostable single-serve coffee pods in North America. Compostable capsules create the opportunity to not only address consumer concerns and divert the packaging away from landfills, but, perhaps more importantly, to recover the used coffee grounds, enabling their processing at a compost facility where they deliver nutrients to the final compost.
Coffee capsules are complex structures where the capsule body, lidding and filter must be precisely designed to deliver a consistently high-quality brewing experience. Before the capsules even reach consumers, it’s critical that these components perform well during assembly and filling as well as on the shelf and during brewing. By bringing together NatureWorks’ materials and applications knowledge with IMA’s machinery expertise, the partnership aims to deliver a turnkey compostable coffee pod solution to the entire coffee industry making it simple to have a great cup of coffee and dispose of the used pod in the most sustainable way possible.
“At NatureWorks, we’ve seen tremendous interest in compostable single-serve pods,” says Flavio Di Marcotullio, global industry manager for NatureWorks. “Brand owners and roasters are responding to both consumer demands for more sustainable packaging and to circular economy directives that specify compostable packaging as a key enabler of recovering food waste for compost. To continue supporting this growth, we saw the opportunity to partner with IMA as they have long helped the single-serve coffee market implement innovative new packaging technologies and have a long-term commitment towards sustainable solutions.”
To give greater impetus to the topic and direct the production chain toward increasing environmental sustainability, in 2019 IMA launched IMA NoP – No Plastic Program. “NOP (No-Plastic Program) means we promote eco-friendly plastic substitutes for the packages manufactured on IMA machines. Through the research and testing of alternative processes and materials, together with our partners, we foster plastic-free and sustainable, compostable packaging solutions. IMA has also established the Open Lab where Material Technologists study, develop and test compostable and recyclable materials to be used on our packaging equipment,” says Nicola Panzani, IMA Coffee sales manager and IMA Coffee Petroncini CEO.