Upmarket UK retailer Waitrose & Partners has announced plans to replace private-label coffee capsules with a home compostable alternative.
The initiate, which it claims is a first among UK supermarkets, will save millions of capsules from ending up in the landfill.
Earlier, coffee capsules offered by the retailer used mixed materials, such as polypropylene with an aluminium lid, which were difficult to separate for recycling.
Fully Compostable Capsules
The new Waitrose coffee capsules use 'bio-sourced' materials that are fully compostable, including sunflower seed bark and sugars derived from corn.
The lid is made of cellulose and is home compostable, while the box is fully recyclable.
Arriving in shops and on waitrose.com this week, the coffee will be the first own-label home compostable capsules compatible with Nespresso-style coffee machines, Waitrose added.
The retailer will offer four different blends in the new packaging, including Espresso 10s and 20s, Lungo 10s, Ristretto 10s and Decaf 10s.
'A More Sustainable Material'
Polly Astbury, coffee buyer at Waitrose, said, "We are working hard so that all our packaging can be more easily recycled, reusable, or home compostable in the next two years.
"After a year of so many cups of coffee, it was essential we looked for a more sustainable material. As coffee grains can also be used as a fertiliser, making our capsules home compostable was an ideal alternative."
The retailer has seen significant growth (+39%) in coffee sales in the last 12 months as customers stayed at home due to the pandemic and replaced their office or high-street coffee with homemade alternatives.
John Lewis also reported an increase in sales for coffee capsule machines.
The retailer added that this trend would continue even after the lockdown as people work from home more in the future.
Last week, the retailer announced plans to no longer sell children's magazines containing disposable toys to reduce single-use plastic.