Home-Compostable Coffee Capsules from Halo

Do you love coffee from a Nespresso machine, but the waste of the capsules is a thorn in your side? Excellent, because we are happy to feature the home-compostable coffee capsules from Halo. We are two absolute coffee addicts and we literally can’t survive a day without this tasty elixir. Now, we are happy that we can make coffee with our Nespresso machine in a sustainable way.

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Halo’s mission statement: “The world’s best coffees, made in a way that’s best for the world.”

Disclaimer: Halo Coffee provided us their coffee for testing purposes. With the code “ANNIANDTIMO” you will receive a 10% discount on your order at HALO Coffee. For each purchase, we will receive a small commission, but without any extra cost for you!

Coffee capsules – blessing or curse?

Reading this article, you probably know the excellent taste of the freshly brewed coffee capsules coming with hundreds of different flavors.

compostable coffe capsules from halo

But sadly, the other side of the coin of coffee capsules isn’t so good nor sustainable. Billions of those little coffee capsules end up in landfills – and the oceans – every year.

To be more precise, in 2018 over 60 billion (60,000,000,000,000!) coffee capsules were produced. An estimated 20% of those have been recycled only, which means 48 billion capsules were not.

There are two popular conventional materials for coffee capsules:

Aluminum coffee capsules

Actually, aluminum capsules are easy to recycle! But in fact, 1/5 of the capsules are being recycled only. This is referable to the inadequate collection of the capsules by the producers. A deposit return scheme might be an option. But even if 100% of the capsules would be recycled, aluminum is and will always be an environmentally harmful resource. To produce aluminum you need lots of energy and it contaminates groundwater due to caustic red sludge and toxic mine tailings.

Conventional coffee capsules produce lots of unnecessary waste
Conventional coffee capsules produce lots of unnecessary waste

Plastic coffee capsules

Plastic capsules, however, can’t be properly recycled with today’s standard recycling infrastructure and therefore automatically end up in a landfill. The capsules shouldn’t be thrown in the plastic waste, because they still have the coffee inside and most of them have aluminum tabs. Plastic coffee capsules are affordable for the consumer, however, the “environmental price” is way too high as it goes without saying that conventional packaging causes enormous residual waste amounts.

The hitch in compostable bio-plastic coffee capsules

Luckily, there are also some alternatives to aluminum and plastic! Maybe you have already tried them already: compostable coffee capsules made of bio-plastic.
BUT, unfortunately there’s a hitch!

Industrially compostable vs. home-compostable packaging

Most of the “compostable” or “biodegradable” coffee capsules are not really as good as they seem to be at first glance. They are made of “bio-plastic” and yes, they are compostable! However, bio-plastic coffee capsules are industrially compostable but NOT necessarily home-compostable. Industrially compostable means that the bio-plastic needs to be broken down by special anaerobic digesters and it takes longer than for e.g., plants/ peels to break down.

Identification of bio-plastic packaging

In addition to that, consumers and landfill workers often identify these capsules as regular plastic, because the bio-plastic is extremely hard to differentiate from the standard oil-based plastic. This leads to the wrong disposal and the capsules end up in landfills anyway.

The right way to decompose bio-plastic

Translated from the German website “biologischverpacken.de” about bio-plastic packaging:

“Often the Bio-Icon for DIN13432 appears in our article descriptions. This means that the article is certified compostable and can be decomposed into defined residual components within 90 days in an industrial composting plant. However, many composting plants work in a shorter, sometimes only six-week cycle. Accordingly, the organic waste there has only half the time to decompose into its components, and its fragments are still too large to be recycled. […] Even if composting appears at first glance to be the best way of recycling because nature is transformed back into nature, it is currently not the most reasonable solution. Composting an industrial plant also requires energy, and the entire process consumes resources. For these reasons, we also recommend disposing of this packaging in the recycling waste with subsequent thermal recycling.”

GreenBox

To sum it up, even the coffee capsules made of bio-plastic should be disposed of the residual waste. In some cities, it might be possible to put them in a special recyclable waste.

Bio-plastic is still better than oil-based plastic or aluminum

It is still better to use bio-plastic than regular plastic due to lower pollution. But why stopping here and not trying to choose the best for the environment?

Halo Coffee capsules are 100% home-compostable

Halo Coffee aims to provide a completely sustainable alternative for your coffee capsule machine. They created the world’s first Nespresso compatible paper capsule with real barista-quality coffee.

The Halo paper coffee capsules are made from waste sugar cane fiber and therewith are 100% home-compostable. In as little as four weeks (in optimal conditions) to 90 days (regardless of the conditions, e.g. in a home compost), they will degrade, leaving nothing than fertile soil.

Coffee capsules that are home-compostable
Even the packaging of the Halo coffee capsules are home-compostable

Halo decided to use paper material, also to counteract confusion about the proper disposal of the capsules. The paper capsules are easy to identify as organic waste.

Even Halo’s inserts, stickers, boxes, and laminate are home-compostable too and can be thrown into the organic waste as well.

The taste of Halo coffee

The coffee is a specialty grade, sourced from the best growing regions in the world. The brand is constantly creating new blends and new varieties to expand their range.

We tested four different tastes of the Halo coffee. In advance, we have to mention that we are used to strong Italian espresso, so we especially liked the two strong coffee blends – Daterra Moonlight and Indian Parchment.

Range of Specialty Grade Coffees

Daterra Moonlight

Caramel, pecan, dried cherries & spicy chocolate
Country of origin: Brazil
How it tastes: It’s a full-bodied flavor, one can taste the spices and the dark chocolate. All in all, it’s a great and tasty espresso!

Daterra moonlight compostable coffe capsules from halo

Three Mountain

Nuts, chocolate, berries & molasses
Country of origin: Colombian Andes, Nepalese Himalayas, Kenyan Kilimanjaro
How it tastes: mild flavor, slightly sourish

Three moutain compostable coffe capsules from halo

Indian Parchment

Malt, Caramel & Toasted Cedar
Country of origin: India
How it tastes: This is our favorite taste from Halo coffee so far. Tastes like the original coffee in India (we’ve been backpacking in India in 2019), but a bit less intensive. Medium flavor, sweet note, full-bodied, authentic “Indian” flavor.

Indian Parchement home-compostable coffee capsules from halo

Halo Ristretto

Chocolate, caramel, stone fruits & dried currants
Country of origin: Colombia, Brazil, El Salvador and Ethiopia
How it tastes: mild flavor, only for ristretto/ espresso

Halo Ristretto home-compostable coffee capsules from halo

Halo Minus (decaffeinated)

Apricot, plum, lemon, bergamot & black tea
Country of origin: Ethiopia

Halo Minus decaffeinated home-compostable coffe capsules from halo

Pacamara

Plum, passion fruit, nutmeg & grapefruit
Country of origin: Colombia

Pacamara home-compostable coffee capsules from halo

Compatibility of Halo coffee capsules

Compatible with:

  • Nespresso Original Home Systems

Not compatible with:

  • Nespresso Professional
  • Nespresso Vertuoline
  • Keurig
  • Tassimo
  • Dolce Gusto
  • Lavazza systems.

Summary

Halo coffee capsules are a great way to make coffee with Nespresso machines in an environmentally friendly way. The capsules are 100% home-compostable. We tried four flavors: Daterra Moonlight, Three Mountains, Indian Parchment, and Halo Ristretto. As we like our coffee strong, we recommend the two stronger options of the four different coffees we tried – the “Indian Parchment” as well as the “Daterra Moonlight” for Espresso/ Ristretto.

Find your favorite coffee from Halo with our 10% discount code “ANNIANDTIMO” on your order at HALO Coffee.

Cake and coffee on a wooden table

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