Compostable coffee pods developed at University of Guelph set to hit store shelves

University of Guelph researchers helped create compostable coffee pods that can be used in Keurig machines. The pods will be sold by Loblaw under their President's Choice brand.

Pods are made almost entirely from plant materials, including coffee bean skins

All parts of the coffee pods developed by University of Guelph researchers and the Toronto coffee roaster Club Coffee are compostable. (University of Guelph)

Compostable single-serve coffee pods for the Keurig coffee machine, made almost entirely from plant materials and reclaimed coffee bean skins, will soon hit store shelves.

Loblaw Companies Ltd. announced Friday it is launching the compostable pods under its President's Choice brand.

The pods, certified by the Biodegradable Products Institute, were created by researchers at the University of Guelph's Bioproducts Discovery and Development Centre (BDDC) and the Toronto coffee roaster Club Coffee.

"This new product is a great example of how the University of Guelph puts knowledge into action," Malcolm Campbell, the university's vice-president of research, said in a news release. "We use our discoveries to produce real solutions to real-life challenges – in this instance, helping people and the environment."

Ring made of coffee bean skin

Guelph researchers developed the ring that holds the pod in place. It is made with the skin of the coffee bean that comes off during the roasting process. The university has filed a patent for the ring formula.

Competitive Green Technologies in Leamington, Ont., made the resin for the pod's ring.
The compostable pods are better for the environment than the traditional throw away pods, researchers say. (CBC Calgary)

Amar Mohanty, director of the BDDC and a professor in the department of plant agriculture and the school of engineering, said the number of pods sent to landfills last year could circle the earth 13 times.

"This innovative coffee pod not only addresses issues of environmental sustainability but also helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on non-renewable fossil fuels," Mohanty said.

'Game-changing solution'

Ian Gordon, senior vice president for Loblaw Brands Limited, called the pods a "game-changing solution to an environmental challenge facing millions of households."

The pods work with "most" Keurig brewing systems, the company said.

An exact date when the pods would be available wasn't released and the company warned customers should contact their local municipality to ensure the pods are accepted for composting in their system.

Club Coffee first announced the compostable pods in Sept. 2015. The Vancouver company G-Pak also produces a biodegradable pod made from "readily renewable materials," according to its website.


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