Fully Compostable Single-Serve Coffee Capsule Launched

A new generation of coffee capsules is made of 100% NatureWorks Ingeo PLA. 

A two-year R&D project between NatureWorks, Minnetonka, Minn. and Italy’s Flo, a major European food packaging producer, has led to what may be the first 100% bioplastic coffee capsule. Flo’s new generation of coffee capsules, Gea, is a fully compostable capsule made from NatureWorks Ingeo PLA.

Compared to compostable capsules currently on the market, the new Gea capsules are said to address market requests for material aging stability in an industrially compostable format. “Being able to count on a capsule that does not show signs of aging in a few months, but is shelf stable for years, is a huge value for coffee roasters….Roasters should be focused on their coffee, not the packaging it is packed in. NatureWorks’ unique analytical and engineering capabilities together with Flo’s know-how in thermoforming technology, were critical to developing this solution”, says Erika Simonazzi, Flo’s marketing director.

The Gea capsules also boast excellent oxygen barrier, which protects the organoleptic qualities of the packaged coffee. The taste and aroma of the coffee are preserved, satisfying the needs of coffee roasters while ensuring an enhanced brewing experience for consumers.

Says Steve Davies, commercial director, NatureWorks Performance Packaging, “A fully compostable capsule provides an elegant and simple system for delivering the valuable used coffee grounds to industrial compost. Thanks to the collaboration with Flo and their unique capability and dedication for developing improved packaging technologies, we are proud to support the commercialization of the first compostable coffee capsule made from 100% Ingeo PLA. The results demonstrate that delivering a superior taste and brewing experience to the consumer does not have to sacrifice sustainability.”

Gea is entirely composed of Ingeo PLA, a renewably sourced polymer that is certified for industrial composting systems according to global standards such as EN-13432 (EU) and ASTM D6400-04. The new capsule technology platform is approved for food contact and is now in final testing by TUV Austria and the Italian Composting and Biogas Association (CIC) for compostability certification.