09/23/2015 03:59 EDT | Updated 09/23/2016 05:12 EDT

Club Coffee Creates Compostable Pod That Can Go In Green Bin

Toronto's Club Coffee says it is close to releasing a coffee pod that is 100 per cent compostable, meaning the whole pod can go into the municipal green bin.

Years in development, the product has earned certification from the Biodegradable Products Institute, a New York-based institute which certifies products are compostable based on rigorous testing.

As consumers expressed concern about the amount of waste generated by the trend toward coffee pods, some makers have released recyclable pods which require the consumer to scoop out the coffee, remove the lid and plastic ring and then rinse out the container for recycling.

New bioresins used in pod

But the Coffee Club biodegradable product is made of newly created bioresins, developed in concert with the Guelph, Ont.-based Bioproducts Discovery and Development Centre.

The entire pod can be thrown in the green bin and will completely break down in an industrial composting facility, meeting the test for BPI certification, according to company spokeswoman Lauren Joakim.   

There is no official test for whether it will compost in a backyard composter, she said.

"Diverting products associated with food residuals away from disposal is complicated, and BPI certification is a critical piece of the process, ensuring that items will break down in a timely manner in the appropriate composting environment, and not have a negative impact on the quality of the finished compost," says Rhodes Yepsen, BPI executive director in a news release.

Need municipal approval

Before the pods get a retail release, Toronto-based Coffee Club has to get the approval of municipal composting programs to ensure it meets their requirements.

Joakim said she expected that would happen in some cities later this year and in spring 2016 across Canada.

That process is proving to be difficult in some cities, she said.

"Toronto is saying they don't want to touch it," she said. "With so many of these pods out there, they're afraid of other pods that aren't biodegradable going into the green bin and contaminating it."

Most cities do their own testing before they approve products as compostable and the BPI certification has helped Coffee Club get a hearing in most jurisdictions.

The PurPod100 biodegradable pods are compatible with Keurig machines, though Keurig itself has tried to discourage consumers from using pods from competing companies.

However, having the first compostable pod could put Coffee Club ahead of competitors in winning over shoppers concerned about waste.

A Vancouver-based company also created a compostable pod called the G-Kup. Scientists at the University of British Columbia are helping the company get certified in Canada with help from federal grants.

With files from Rhianna Schmunk, The Huffington Post Canada

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