The Globe and Mail recently reported on Club Coffee’s breakthrough entry to market with the world’s first 100% certified compostable single-serve pod, the PurPod 100. While the article reported on what happened, it did not report on how it happened. Club Coffee had partnered with University of Guelph to come up with a bio resin formula and turned to Fourmark Manufacturing to make this single-serve, bio resin compostable invention a market reality.
Compostable bio resins are the holy grail in environmentally-friendly packaging. Many packages claim to be biodegradable but the dirty little secret is that almost anything is biodegradable. To be biodegradable only means it will break down over time – and that could be a long, long time. Following U.S. Federal Trade Commission definitions, compostable means we have scientific evidence that the materials in the PurPod 100 will break down to usable compost at a compost facility or home compost pile within a few months (90 days for the PurPod 100). Packaging doesn’t get much more environmentally friendly than that.
However, there are no guarantees when trying to bring new technology like compostable bio-resin packaging off the drawing board to market. It takes ingenuity. Bio resins have far different characteristics than traditional packaging resins. Production procedures and techniques required experimentation and rigorous testing all while working to a very real to-market deadline.
Here is how we did it.
There were no precedents for this project. It was new territory and there was risk that it was simply not doable. In fact, other packaging companies had declined to even try. That’s not how we work. We love a challenge!
The first item of business, of course, was to produce a mould. Mould-making is the backbone of Fourmark’s business. The result was the first mould ever for coffee-based bio resin. And that was just the beginning. We spent time reviewing resins, production parameters and the real-world realities of line production.
This was new territory. Compostable products had to be approved by various authorities to ensure adherence to their individual composting requirements. From twenty formulations, we created prototypes for testing and evaluation and tweaked the formulas and the mould as necessary.
The formula reveals one of the beauties of this packaging: over twenty per cent of the resin is coffee chaff. What historically is thrown in the garbage as waste is now used to make the end-product, the single-serve pod, more environmentally friendly.
Not only was this a breakthrough in packaging, it was also achieved in a short time frame. From our first meeting with Coffee Club in December 2014, we were testing in early 2015.
This is the way of the future. It is an inventive and ingenious use of waste to eliminate waste.
We’re proud to have brought Coffee Club’s coffee pod to market. Want to learn more about bio-resin and how we could help you bring your ingenious bio-product to market? Contact the Fourmark team.