Magistrale Stories


It is all about Coffee and Cycling

Magistrale Coffee Explained

OUR BIO-DEGRADABLE NESPRESSO* CAPSULES

We claim that we care about the environment as we are cyclist and that is 100% true but as you will learn while reading further is that we do not have the perfect solution for our Nespresso compatible capsules. We do think our solution is the best one available at this moment and for sure much better than the packaging that is used by the big coffee cooperations. 

We know there is a lot of discussion going on about packaging of coffee in capsules. We receive often questions about our cups and our stand in this matter. Below we explain why we made the decision to choose for plant based bio-degradable cups. At this moment we think it is the best choice for our products but we also know there is a lot more to win in this battle so we keep ourselves educated and on top of all developments towards an even better solution. As we are living in the second decade of the 2nd century now, we need to build towards a circular approach of our materials’ use. This means that we must extend the lifetime of our products, recycle these materials and give back to nature, so that we regenerate our natural systems.

Why we choose for plant based bio-degradable capsules

We use capsules from plant material, which is considered far more sustainable than plastic and aluminium capsules. We use the left-over waste that is generated in sugar production (sugarcane + suger beets) that is not serving a purpose anymore. We extend the plant materials’ lifetime by creating a usable product out of it. The bio-plastic we create is called PLA (polyactic acid) and is bio-degradable and non-toxic. 
Compared to conventional plastic or aluminium coffee capsules, renewably sourced plastics such as PLA constribute to the decoupling of plastic production and thus, drastically reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. Worldwide, PLA is therefore known to be contributing positively to supress the swelling problem of mass plastic consumption and waste.
Over time, the PLA will decompose and leave behind nothing but natural products, which can safely re-enter the carbon cycle. Our coffee capsules do not pose any risk to your health, because there are absolutely no toxic chemicals associated with PLA. If you like more detailed info can be found at this article from the University of Wageningen.

Why we choose not for aluminum or plastic capsules

Aluminium production requires tremendous amounts of energy and requires immense heat (over 1000 C°) to melt into a usable product. It also causes widespread degradation of environments. Aluminium is a very high-quality material, ideal for use in airplanes and so on, but its production emits large quantities of CO2, Methane and toxics. Though, there are also advantages of aluminium. It is very light-weight and can also be recycled very well. The challenge here is to set up a recycling system (for instance for aluminum capsules). Nespresso® is known for recycling there capsules, but it remains unclear (and non-transparant) to what extent this happens. Furthermore, the recycling process (pick-up, clean, remelt etc.) also consumes energy and resources.

Packing coffee in plastic capsules is cheap as plastic is made from crude oil. The use of this fossil fuel contributes to our globally changing climate next to that is our planet heavily polluted with plastic. Only 14 percent of the plastic used globally is being recycled. This causes plastic to end up in places where we do not want it: our oceanslandfills, etc. Only 1 percent of coffee capsules is being recycled.

So what happens to your used plant based capsules?

After using our Magistrale capsules, we recommend to dispose the capsule in the organic waste bin. Because in that case, your capsules will be taken to an industrial composting plant. Composting at home comes with its difficulties. Finding the sweet spot where the microbes in your home compost pile can flourish can be quite tricky and increases the composting time hugely. 

By contrast, an industrial composting facility can do this with ease. In their hands, it will take around 12 weeks for the caps to decompose. But still we know that due to undercapacity at many industrial composting facilities the process of composting can be disrupted and part of the waste is processed as traditional waste. Still (same as when you throw away your used capsules in the regular waste bin) our coffee capsule will have at least a less of an impact than the conventional plastic or aluminum coffee capsules. 

Thanks for reading and we keep you posted on our quest for a cleaner planet and environment we ride in!

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