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Pierre Potier Prize for compostable coffee capsules

February 23, 2018

The “Maison de la Chimie” foundation and the French Chemical Industry Association (UIC) have awarded the Pierre Potier Prize every year since 2006. It honors innovations in the area of chemistry that are particularly sustainable and promotes the development of sustainable solutions for consumers’ everyday lives. The Pierre Potier Prize is headed by the French Minister of Economy and has a similar status in France to the Deutscher Zukunftspreis (“German Future Prize”) in Germany.

In December 2017, BASF won the Pierre Potier Prize for its new bio-based plastic, which can be used for the manufacturing of certified compostable coffee capsules. This innovation was developed in cooperation with the French company Capsul’in and is part of BASF’s contribution to creating a circular economy.

Certified compostable coffee capsules

These are the world’s first coffee capsules to carry the Keimling seal, an EU certification that verifies the product as being compostable. This means that the used capsule must decompose within 12 weeks – when tests were carried out under real conditions, this took just four weeks. The coffee capsules were manufactured from the biodegradable plastic ecovio® IA1652 and are resistant to both heat and pressure, which is necessary when the hot water is pressed through the small holes into the capsules during the brewing process. The special thing about this material is the mixture of biodegradable ecoflex® from BASF and the polylactic acid derived from renewable raw materials, which produces a completely compostable plastic that is partly made up of renewable materials. Products made of ecovio® have the same properties as conventional, non-biodegradable plastics and can be processed just as easily.

Thanks to the development of bio-based coffee capsules, the material can be turned into valuable compost at the end of its useful life, thereby making a positive contribution to reducing unnecessary garbage.

Birgit Hellmann
Global Sustainability Communications