• Pic credit: Compostable Alternatives
    Pic credit: Compostable Alternatives

Australian start-up Compostable Alternatives has collaborated with Closed Loop Environmental Solutions and Responsible Cafes to produce a certified home compostable coffee cup and lid.

Compostable Alternatives co-founders Marion Vigot and Alexis Branlard (Pic credit: Compostable Alternatives)
Compostable Alternatives co-founders
Marion Vigot and Alexis Branlard
(Pic credit: Compostable Alternatives)

The company, which in 2021 won the 7News Young Achiever and Carbon Neutral Adelaide awards, has launched Compost After Coffee, which it says is the most affordable, certified home compostable alternative coffee cup, and fuels veggie gardens instead of polluting the environment.

Co-founder Marion Vigot, who is also GM at Responsible Cafes, said her team had researched and tested various materials before she discovered an innovation that could be “home composted after coffee” in just a couple of weeks.

“We researched and tested this specific product including its messaging, compostable end-of-life and clear disposal instructions, in partnership with Closed Loop Environmental Solutions, for the past 10 months to make sure it was filling a gap in the market.

“On the market, 99.9 per cent of 'compostable' cups are only commercially compostable or not certified. This is a big issue for businesses and consumers that do not have access to composting facilities; FOGO bins that accept compostable cups; or are unaware the product requires commercial composting or misled into marketing claims,” she explained.

Pic credit: Compostable Alternatives
Pic credit: Compostable Alternatives

Vigot confirms that the cups and lids, comprised from sustainably sourced paper pulp, are made in Indonesia via Closed Loop Environmental Solutions and are delivered wrapped in FSC-certified paper instead of plastic sleeves.

“Unlike other cups on the market, they don't have an inner lining but instead include aqueous barrier technology (as part of the pulp material),” she said, pointing out that the cups and lids are internationally certified to break down in under six months in a home compost setup.

“However, they can actually break down in around 8-10 weeks,” she said, explaining that this same timeframe applies to Compostable Alternatives’ other regenerative products, such as gloves, straws, bin liners and cling wrap, which are all certified home compostable.

Closed Loop Environmental Solutions MD Rob Pascoe said, “We all love our morning cup of coffee. And we all love the convenience of the to-go cup. We also all know that single-use cups are a major source of waste in our environment, and we want to do something about it.”

“It’s been incredibly challenging to navigate the many compostable promises of suppliers and manufacturers,'” admitted Vigot “But now we have a product that matches our expectations and the expectations of the hospitality sector for sustainability.”

Pic credit: Compostable Alternatives
Pic credit: Compostable Alternatives

According to the Australian Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, the plastic lining on the inside of traditional cups prevents them from being recycled through normal processes. Most recent compostable options require specific processing and dedicated commercial composting facilities, which are few and far between in regional Australia.

The APCO 2021 report on National Compostable Packaging Strategy states that about 13 per cent of compostable packaging produced in 2018-19 was recovered through composting.

“The reality is that most compostable packaging and tableware ends up in landfill,” said Vigot.

“That’s not good enough and we want to give everyone the opportunity to process their food waste and packaging in their backyards instead of relying on third party waste processors to deal with it.”

Pic credit: Compostable Alternatives
Pic credit: Compostable Alternatives

Another way to dispose of Compostable Alternatives' latest innovation is through Closed Loop Environmental Solutions' dedicated Australian recycling program “Simply Cups”, which allows used cups to be recycled into higher value items.

Late last year, Vigot was appointed GM of Responsible Cafes, the grassroots and volunteer-led community which connects a network of 5000 sustainable cafes with millions of eco-conscious customers looking to reduce, reuse, recycle or compost.

Featured in ABC's War on Waste in 2017, the organisation has been instrumental in promoting the “BYO and get a discount” movement for many years.

“Certified home compostable is the best alternative when reusables are not possible,” said Vigot, pointing out that by offering a product designed to be home composted, carbon is being put back into the soil, allowing new resources to grow, which ultimately benefits a circular economy.

“Solving the coffee cup and lid challenge seemed like a natural evolution for us to positively impact the future of packaging,” she concludes.

The certified home compostable coffee cups and lids are now exclusively available for purchase from https://www.compostablealternatives.com.au

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