A biodegradable coffee capsule that can be disposed of by consumers in their compost has been developed by Austrian converter Alpla in cooperation with materials manufacturer Golden Compound.

The capsule is made from Golden Compound green material, which comprises an organically-based material and ground natural fibres from sunflower seed shells.

Sunflower seed shells are used as a reinforcing material. They are a by-product of the food industry and not in competition with food production. Composting the capsule generates humus while the coffee grounds contain plant nutrients such as potassium, phosphorous and nitrogen.

The capsule and filter fleece are biodegradable in the garden compost in less than six months, claims Golden Compound, and are free from aluminium and genetically modified organisms. Alpla provides the capsule and the garden compostable lid.

The first customer is coffee roaster Amann Kaffee in Vorarlberg, Austria, which recently presented the product at the Fakuma show in Germany.

The oxygen barrier of the capsule is comparable with conventional plastics such as PP-EVOH-PP, says Alpla. The monolayer coffee capsule is therefore aroma-proof without the need for outer packaging.

Golden Compound has been producing materials with up to 70 per cent ground natural fibres from sunflower seed shells since 2014.

More information from Alpla Werke Alwin Lehner GmbH, Leopold Lehner Strasse 36, 2751 Steinabrueckl, Austria. Tel: 43 2622 431 18 0. Email: office-steinabrueckl@alpla.com. Web: alpla.com