Compostable FAQ (2020)

Coffee Capsules 2U compostable capsules offer you all the taste and a full circle waste management process based right here in New Zealand. We'd love to answer any questions that you have.

Feel free to Contact Us for any more information.

Welcome To FAQ


Click on one of the headers to see all of our FAQ.

The New Compostable Capsule


What Are They?

Our new compostable capsules are the latest global technology. They are fully certified as being made from bio-based materials and compostable in industrial facilities.

They look good, they’ll work in your machine, they keep the coffee fresh and they’ll taste just great. You can also complete the loop and put them back to nature.

Will They Work In My Nespresso Machine?

Yes! If your machine uses the home standard Nespresso capsule then you are good to go. The great thing about a global technology sold in the many hundreds of millions is that you can be sure that it works.

DO COMPOSTABLE CAPSULES COST MORE?

Yes they do. It is quite simply the cost of the new capsule. Plastic and aluminium are cheap. Our new capsules are made of a compostable bio-plastic. It's cutting edge stuff and costs us more.

CAN I STILL BUY PLASTIC CAPSULES?

Absolutely. We’ll continue to offer our customers a choice as long as there is a price difference.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN COMPOSTABLE PODS AND REGULAR PLASTIC?

The coffee inside each capsule is the same and they both work exceptionally well in your coffee machine. The only difference between the two capsules is that the compostable capsule is made of bio-based plastic that is able to be composted.

WHAT BLENDS ARE AVAILABLE IN THE COMPOSTABLE CAPSULES?

Our main coffee blends are available in the compostable capsule range. That’s Blend 5, 7, 9, 10 & 12.

Will Decaf Be Released?

At present, we do not plan to release decaf in the compostable capsule. Most of our customers prefer the price advantage of buying decaf in regular plastic capsules. We’ll continue to assess the demand.

WHAT ABOUT Caramel and HOT CHOCOLATE?

Unfortunately, it’s not possible to put Caramel or Hot Chocolate in the new compostable capsules. Technically speaking, the sticky bits doesn’t go through the compostable bits very well. That may change as the technology improves.

We'll continue to offer Caramel and Hot Choccie in our regular plastic capsule.

What Is Composting?


What does Compostable Mean?

Composting can be thought of as a human process - the cooking of natural materials to break them down into natural elements. The right environment for composting is plenty of air, plenty of water and lots of sustained heat. Microbes (nature's little chompers) thrive in that environment, make lots more microbes and get really hungry. They eat up the natural materials in bio-plastics and turn it into water, carbon dioxide and biomass. There is no toxic residue just good stuff.

Compost is organic stuff full of nutrients that can be put straight back into the environment.

What Does Biodegradable Mean?

Everything on earth biodegrades. It's nature's own waste management process. Biodegradable materials can break down and be eaten up by natural microbes. Biodegradable doesn’t necessarily mean safe as it can leave potentially toxic stuff like chemicals in the mix.

The question is how long does something take to biodegrade? Even an iron bridge will eventually biodegrade over time. Plant based plastics (like those used in coffee capsules) can be labelled as biodegradable. They are meant to break down more easily than regular plastic and be safer for the environment. However, microbes can’t live in landfills as air, water and heat are not present, so ….

Research suggests, that when we chuck used capsules in landfill, biodegradable plastics take the same amount of time to break down as regular fossil-based plastic.

What Is The Difference Between Biodegradable And Compostable?

Everything that is compostable is biodegradable, however not all biodegradable material is compostable. For example, some stuff that biodegrades can release toxins that kill all the natural goodies. When you know it's certified compostable you know it's good for the environment.

"There is a lot of confusion with biodegradable and compostable, they're two completely different things. We can't take biodegradable ... it breaks down but it still can be toxic." - Colleen Wastney, Greenwaste to Zero, Nelson 

Why Is Certification Important? How Do I Check?

Your compostable packaging supplier must be able to produce certification from a reputable third party laboratory.

Certification is what tells you that you can trust claims made about bio-based, biodegradable or composting.

All components of Coffee Capsules 2U capsules are certified Biodegradable, Compostable (industrial composting) and Biobased by TÜV Austria (an internationally recognised certification laboratory). Our capsules comply with the OK BIOBASED and OK COMPOST certifications awarded by TÜV Austria / Vincotte as a finished product. Click here to see our certification

Will Compostable Capsules Biodegrade In Landfill?

Yeah, nah! The answer is "not within the time frame most people think!"

Very little biodegradation occurs in most modern landfills. The reason for that is, they are built to keep air and moisture out. These are two factors for biodegradation to occur.

Modern landfills are designed to preserve their contents rather than biodegrade them.

What Does Industrially Compostable Mean?

Our capsules are made of a bio-plastic that will compost in a commercial composting facility only.

Industrial composting facilities actively manage the air and moisture content and maintain consistently high temperatures (over 55 degrees, much higher than can be achieved in your home compost heap).

Compostable capsules that are correctly processed can be back in nature as compost within 3-6 months.

What Does Home Compostable Mean?

Packaging certified as home compostable can be placed in a home compost bin. It will decompose and become organic rich soil within a reasonable period of time.

Some parts of our capsules will break down in your home compost, like the coffee and the paper lids. The other bits will not, well, not in our lifetime at least!

Home compostable bio-plastics are starting to come on stream. However, the good quality stuff will cost a lot more. Importantly, they need to be mixed with vast amounts of organic matter (like 140 to one) to compost. So unless you have an olympic swimming pool sized compost heap on the go then home composting may not work in your garden.

While home composting can complement industrial composting, it cannot replace it.  European Bioplastics Association

A word of caution if you are considering trying coffee capsules with claims to be home compostable. Check the certification as it must clearly state “HOME” otherwise you'll be shovelling the things around in your compost pile for life.

Composting Your Used Capsules


What To Do With Your used Pods

If you live in the Auckland area, then we recommend getting a Kitchen Caddy from We Compost. Take a big step in the right direction and divert your compostable household waste, like food scraps and coffee pods, away from landfill and into making something good for New Zealand.

If you live in a part of New Zealand that has industrial composting collection facilities, then you can drop your used pods into that system.

If you don’t, then Courier & Compost is the way to go.

What Is Courier & Compost?

Courier & Compost is New Zealand's only round trip onshore processing facility for used coffee capsules. Simply buy a return courier ticket when you purchase your compostable pods, enjoy your coffee and send your pods back. Too easy!

The new system is a step ahead and very easy.

  • We’ll send your coffee in a specially designed cardboard box with a compostable bag inside.
  • Simply take your coffee packs out as you need them and dry your used pods as you go.
  • When all done, put your used pods in the compostable bag, drop it in the box, lock the carton back up and attach the courier ticket to the box.
  • Courier Post will collect the box from your door shortly after you let them know it is ready.

Courier & Compost will cost the price if a return courier ticket. It’s all based on where you live in New Zealand.

What Happens To The Returned Pods?

We collect them all up and send them to We Compost – Auckland’s leading compostable waste management company. They arrange for the pods to be correctly composted using industrial composting processes. The compost is then used in the forestry and agricultural sectors.

Read our blog Introducing We Compost for more details.

If there was ever such a thing as a cool composting video then this is it!


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