The US Plastics Pact has recognised the Smile Compostable Solutions home compostable coffee pod at its second annual Sustainable Packaging Innovation Award.

The US Plastics Pact is a consortium founded by The Recycling Partnership and the WWF. It launched as part of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s global Plastics Pact network.

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It partners with Walmart to showcase companies that are eliminating problematic and unnecessary plastic packaging while taking actions to ensure that 100% of plastic packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.

Smile’s coffee pod previously won the compostability category in 2022. In order to achieve necessary third-party certification for compostable items, each individual component (pod, filter, lid, adhesive and inks) must be certified separately and then as a whole.

The company states that all its customers must sign a contract on claims to prevent greenwashing on marketing and packaging. This mandates that customer packaging always displays where to find commercial composters and does not display any claims of biodegradation. It also ensures that Smile’s customers each register with their own Biodegradable Products Institute number.

Coffee pods and capsules have gained popularity due to their convenience and consistent brewing results, but plastic pods are challenging to recycle due to their small size and the need to remove the coffee grounds and lids for proper disposal.

Compostable coffee pods are gaining ground in the packaging industry, with biodegradable material producers Danimer Scientific and TotalEnergies Corbion recently partnering to develop a new compostable coffee pod biopolymer.