NatureWorks and IMA Coffee Lab have passed the first significant trial phase in their strategic partnership. Results were positive in compatibility testing on the K-Cup compatible compostable coffee pods.
This particular stage involved identifying and achieving optimum material sealing parameters and limits on the capsules, filters and top lid films. Microleakage detection testing and figuring out how to set it up to be used by IMA packaging machineries were also done at IMA’s R&D centers.
On NatureWorks’ side, the company is developing single-stage thermoforming processes and capsule designs that can meet IMA’s specs for filling and sealing. It utilises low-carbon Ingeo™ PLA biopolymers as the main material for the compostable coffee pods.
The goal of this partnership is to make disposing of the coffee pods more sustainable, while still delivering a high-quality brewing experience for the consumers.
“With the promising results we’ve seen so far, we have already begun the next phase of development by partnering with converters in North America to bring these new compostable pod designs to commercial scale making them available to brands and roasters seeking to meet consumer demands for more sustainable packaging and to circular economy directives that specify compostable packaging as a key enabler of recovering food waste for compost,” said Flavio Di Marcotullio, Global Industry Manager, Single Serve Beverages, for NatureWorks.
IMA launched its NoP, No Plastic Program in 2019. “The NOP (No-Plastic Program) means we promote eco-friendly plastic substitutes for the packages manufactured on IMA machines. Through the research and testing of alternative processes and materials, together with customers, material suppliers and partners, we foster plastic-free and sustainable, compostable packaging solutions. IMA has also established the Open Lab where Material Technologists study, develop, and test compostable and recyclable materials to be used on our packaging equipment,” says Nicola Panzani, IMA Coffee Sales Manager and IMA Coffee Petroncini CEO.