Anxious about the impact of your daily caffeine fix?
Take the eco-stress out of single-serve coffee with biodegradable coffee pods.
Some of the best quality coffee comes from the world’s tallest mountains, but conventional coffee capsules also create mountains of waste.
Globally, over 56 billion pods are used yearly, and less than a third are recycled. They also take up to 500 years to break down—meaning the impact of your morning espresso lasts well beyond the initial caffeine high.
But can coffee pods be environmentally friendly?
Fortunately, this list of biodegradable coffee pod manufacturers offer a barista style brew at home. Thanks to the introduction of eco-friendly K-Cups and coffee pods without plastic, we can indulge in the convenience of coffee-filled capsules that don’t leave a bitter taste for the planet.
So, where do you go for an eco-friendly morning cup of Joe, and are sustainable, home-use coffee pods eco-friendly?
The Best Biodegradable Coffee Pods For An Earth-Friendly Espresso
For the crème de la eco crème of ecologically sustainable coffee pods try Coffee & Kin. Their capsules are made by a carbon-neutral manufacturer using 96% recycled materials.
Say goodbye to plastic and aluminum with Blue Goose’s eco-friendly Nespresso pods. They’re made from lignin, a paper industry by-product, and filled with sustainably-grown coffee, including a Bird-Friendly Certified blend.
Roar Gill serves their delicious blends in certified home compostable pods made from cellulose and vegetable oils. Their roasting process is carbon-neutral certified and supports reforestation projects.
Whether you need Nespresso-compatible pods or biodegradable K-Cups for your Keurig machine, we’ve rounded up our favorite brands making the best biodegradable coffee pods for your coffee maker.
Keep reading to find out what other brands percolated their way onto this list, or steam to the end for a guide on how we chose them.
Our Curated List Of Sustainable Coffee Pods
1. Coffee & Kin
Price Range | From £4.75 (10 pods) | Shop Coffee & Kin
Values | Environmental responsibility, mental health awareness, and supporting small businesses
Ingredients | Ethically-sourced, sustainably-grown, and fully traceable coffee beans, most of which are also certified organic.
What We Love | Made from 96% renewable materials, Coffee & Kin’s eco-friendly Keurig pods are 100% plastic free and fully industrially compostable.
Coffee & Kin’s Eco-friendly Coffee Pods
Coffee & Kin offers three delicious coffee blends to caffeine-fuel your daily adventures: Discover, Escape, and Explore—not to mention chocolates to complement them.
Their strongest coffee, Discover, combines beans from Brazil, El Salvador, and Nicaragua into a Great Taste Award-winning blend with notes of almond, chocolate, and maple syrup.
If you’re unsure what type of taste adventure to choose, their Starter Pack of eco-friendly Nespresso pods lets you sample all three.
Order as needed or subscribe to the Coffee & Chocolate Club for discounts.
Coffee & Kin’s Sustainability
Certifications | Certified Organic (we’ll be checking on their certifying bodies)
Ethical Sourcing | Though not all beans are certified organic and fair trade, that’s because Coffee & Kin “like[s] to support the little guys” and prioritizes sourcing from multi-generation family-run farms in Central and South America that can’t afford certification. Everything is 100% traceable.
Carbon | They’re made by a carbon-neutral manufacturer using 100% renewable energy, and the brand HQ is powered by clean energy, too. This makes them one of the most environmentally friendly coffee pods on our list.
Thoughtful Packaging | Coffee & Kin partners with First Mile to compost its eco-friendly coffee pod solution into renewable energy and fertilizer. All packaging can also be composted or recycled.
Pay It Forward | The UK brand’s beans are ethically sourced at fair prices, and 10% of profits go to CALM (The Campaign Against Living Miserably), a charity taking action against suicide.
2. Cameron’s Coffee
Price Range | From $8 (12 pods) | Shop Cameron’s Coffee
Values | Environmental and social responsibility
Ingredients | Responsibly-sourced coffee beans with some organic options
What We Love | Cameron’s Coffee has been serving great coffee in eco-friendly coffee pods for over a decade, long before there was demand for sustainable Keurig pod alternatives.
Cameron’s Biodegradable Keurig Pods
Designed for the Keurig coffee maker, the brand’s eco-friendly K-Cups contain 100% Arabica beans with a large selection of natural and artificial flavors on offer.
Catering to dessert lovers, their light roast blends include Chocolate Caramel Brownie, Cinnamon Sugar Cookie, and Vanilla Hazelnut, perfect for after dinner or a sweet start to the day.
Cameron’s Coffee Sustainability
Certifications | USDA Organic
Ethical Sourcing | They source beans from small, family farms when possible.
Carbon | While we found no specific carbon commitments, they do work to minimize their footprint by employing water conservation practices and composting waste.
Thoughtful Packaging | Their biodegradable Keurig pods are 100% industrially compostable and packaged in recyclable packaging. While not certified for home composting, the brand’s endeavors have been successful, and they encourage others to give home composting a go.
3. Blue Goose
Price Range | From £5.50 (10 pods) | Shop Blue Goose
Values | Environmental responsibility and wildlife conservation
Ingredients | Ethically sourced beans with some organic options
What We Love | Blue Goose partners with “smallholder farming cooperatives and growers” who receive a premium above the Fairtrade Minimum Price. They also offer the world’s first Bird-Friendly® Certified compostable coffee pods from farms prioritizing wildlife conservation.
Blue Goose Eco-friendly Coffee Pods
For organic, quality coffee in eco-friendly coffee pods (Nespresso®and Keurig compatible) Blue Goose, named after the Blue-Winged Goose native to Ethiopia, flies up the sustainability charts.
The brand’s best-selling Organic Peruvian Eco Coffee Pods serve up a smooth, balanced coffee with notes of “nuts, dark fruits, and cacao nibs.”
Prefer something more flowery?
Their award-winning Ethiopian Coffee from the famous Yirgacheffe coffee region is “Floral, Sweet & Bright” (think: Jasmine) for a fresh start to the day.
If you can’t decide, you can try all eight of their organic coffees with the Coffee Pod Gift Selection Box.
Blue Goose Coffee Sustainability
Certifications | EU Organic
Ethical Sourcing | They offer single-origin specialty coffee from Colombia, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Honduras, Peru, and Sumatra. Each product listing specifies which farm is behind those beans.
Carbon | Taking their carbon footprint seriously, Blue Goose manufactures its pods using renewable energy. The brand also partners with Climeworks for carbon removal and Ecologi for carbon offsetting and tree planting.
Thoughtful Packaging | Their sustainable Nespresso pods are made from lignin, a waste product from paper manufacturing, and both the pods and the pouches used for their coffee grounds and whole beans are compostable.
Pay It Forward | Blue Goose supports several environmental projects, including the Bale Mountain Conservation Project and WellWishers Ethiopia.
4. Moving Beans
Price Range | From £3.60 (10 pods) | Moving Beans
Values | Environmental sustainability and social responsibility
Ingredients | Fairtrade coffee beans
What We Love | Combining a love of coffee and science, Moving Beans are helping to move the coffee industry in a sustainable direction with their fair trade eco-friendly coffee pods.
Moving Beans Sustainable Coffee Pods
For eco-friendly coffee pods UK coffee enthusiasts can sip on guilt-free, Moving Beans has plenty to offer—from single-origin coffees to expertly crafted blends, including two decaf options.
Combining Colombian Medellin beans and Ethiopian Sidamo beans, the brand’s Reserve Blend welcomes conscious coffee drinkers with dark chocolate, roasted nuts, and cane sugar notes.
For a strong-tasting coffee without the strong effects, the Bold Decaf Blend—one of two decaf options—is made using the Swiss Water Method and has a taste profile of roasted nuts, biscuits, and spice.
Moving Beans offers its own Keep Cup for on-the-go sustainable sipping.
Moving Beans Sustainability
Certifications | Fairtrade, TUV Austria – OK Compost
Thoughtful Packaging | These 100% plant-based fully compostable pods are made from sugar beet and sugar cane, and the packaging is made from recycled paper. They’re certified industrially compostable by TUV Austria – OK Compost.
5. San Francisco Bay Coffee
Price Range | From $10.99 (12 pods) | San Francisco Bay Coffee
Values | Environmental and social responsibility, and charitable giving
Ingredients | Shade-grown coffee beans (which protects biodiversity by providing habitat for wildlife) with organic options
What We Love | SFB Coffee has partnered with Enveritas to help work towards a more sustainable coffee industry. They are committed to responsible sourcing practices and trade directly with farmers to fill their biodegradable coffee pods with only the best beans.
San Francisco Bay Coffee’s Environmentally Friendly Coffee Pods
San Francisco Bay Coffee’s range of ground coffee, whole beans, and pods caters to every coffee drinker—but in this case we’re focusing on their eco-friendly coffee pods for Keurig machines.
Their classic blends include the USDA-certified Organic Rainforest and the aptly named Fog Chaser. Both are medium dark roast, balanced, smooth, and flavorful.
The Fog Chaser is actually one of our favorite medium roast coffees period for its bold, robust flavor and low acidity—though we go for the whole beans to grind ourselves rather than the non-plastic K Cups.
For fans of flavored coffee, they have several sweet offerings, including Cinnamon Crumb Cake and Donut Shop.
Several variety packs are available, so you can try out multiple blends.
San Francisco Bay Coffee Sustainability
Certifications | Zero Waste certified, USDA Organic
Ethical Sourcing | A member of the Rainforest Alliance, they use sustainable and ethical sourcing methods, prioritizing direct and fair trade with global coffee farmers.
Carbon | While not carbon-neutral, they are Zero Waste certified. Currently, 94% of their waste is composted or recycled.
Thoughtful Packaging | If you’ve been wondering, “Does Keurig have biodegradable pods?”, take a look at the sustainable K-Cups on offer from SFB Coffee. Not only are San Francisco coffee pods biodegradable, but the food-grade plant-based pods are BPI® certified industrially compostable (and so is the bag the pods come in). The pods also use 30% less materials compared to traditional pods.
Pay It Forward | The Rogers Charitable Fund helps support coffee farmers and their communities with education, health, and housing. To date, the fund has helped create 63 schools, 12 medical centers, and 1,700 housing complexes.
6. Halo Coffee
Price Range | From £7 ( 10 pods) | Halo Coffee
Values | Sustainable packaging
Ingredients | Coffee beans, though we’re not aware of any organic or sustainable sourcing practices.
What We Love | Halo Coffee offers some of the best compostable coffee pods, compatible with Nespresso machines. We love how accessible they are, available online or at Whole Foods in London (Fulham, Kensington, Piccadilly, and Richmond branches).
Halo Coffee’s Sustainable Coffee Pods, UK Range
The brand’s signature Three Mountain blend comes from three of the world’s tallest peaks – the Andes, the Himalayas, and Kilimanjaro. It’s balanced and smooth with notes of “nut, chocolate, berries, and molasses” to help you reach your peak performance each morning.
For Lungo lovers, the Lungo Bespoke blend offers a rich, full-bodied experience with tasting notes of “nuts, chocolate, and a hint of spice.”
Halo Coffee also offers single origin and rare coffees, including the Colombian Pacamara, used in World Barista Championships, and Indian Parchment, a handpicked Robusta with “malt, caramel, and toasted cedar” notes.
Halo Coffee’s Sustainability
Certifications | EN13432
Ethical Sourcing | We’ll be directly contacting Halo for more details here.
Thoughtful Packaging | Certified to the EN13432 Standard, the 100% compostable pods are made from paper pulp and sugar cane. According to the brand, they will compost in four weeks under the right conditions. All packaging is either compostable or recyclable.
7. Organic Coffee Co.
Price Range | From $11.29 (12 pods) | Organic Coffee Co.
Values | Environmental responsibility, social responsibility, and charitable giving
Ingredients | 100% organic, non-GMO coffee beans, some of which are shade-grown
What We Love | Owned by the same company as San Francisco Bay Coffee, this sister brand offers 100% organic coffee in the same OneCUP™ biodegradable coffee pods for Keurig machines—which also happen to contain 30% less material than other coffee pods.
Organic Coffee Co. Compostable Coffee Pods
Choose between four delicious blends, including a decaf option among their organic eco-friendly coffee pods.
For an everyday organic winner, try their medium light Organic Breakfast Blend with notes of sweet vanilla and toffee with a citrus finish.
Prefer something darker?
With “Milk Chocolate, Clove, and Toasted Almond” notes, their French Roast offers a sustainably sumptuous start to the day.
Organic Coffee Co. Sustainability
Certifications | USDA Organic, Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI®)
Ethical Sourcing | While not exclusively focused on fair trade practices, many organic coffee producers align with fair trade principles
Thoughtful Packaging | “From pod to sod”, OneCUP™ pods are made from plant cellulose and other plant-based resources such as canola seeds and cornstarch. The plastic-free K-cups (along with the bag) are currently BPI® certified compostable in a commercial facility, but they’re working on providing home compostable solutions.
Pay It Forward | The Rogers Charitable Fund helps support farmers and their communities with various health, education, and housing projects.
8. Roar Gill
Price Range | From £3.75 (10 pods) | Roar Gill
Values | Environmental responsibility and charitable giving
Materials | Sustainably sourced coffee beans, with some organic options
What We Love | For certified home compostable pods, Roar Gill’s range has us roaring thanks to their mission to cut carbon with carbon-neutral roasting and pod manufacturing.
Roar Gill’s Eco Coffee Pods
Roar Gill offers six delectable biodegradable coffee pod blends, all of which are Nespresso compatible
Up your game with the brand’s Bold Blend, a versatile blend of coffee grounds made of beans from Brazil and Uganda with taste notes of “dark chocolate, treacle, and vanilla.”
Their organic Rare Brazil coffee is sourced from high-altitude sustainable farms in Brazil’s Cerrado region. With “layered cacao, hazelnuts, and cedar,” this Daterra coffee is one for discerning coffee lovers to try.
Caffeine affecting your decision-making ability?
Start with their Discovery Pack of assorted coffee capsules to find your favorite.
Roar Gill’s Sustainability
Certifications | OK-Compost by TUV AUSTRIA.
Ethical Sourcing | We’ll be touching base for more information on their coffee sourcing practices.
Carbon | Shipping is offset and the brand supports reforestation projects via a partnership with One Tree Planted.
Thoughtful Packaging | Made from cellulose and vegetable oils, these certified home compostable coffee pods take 26 weeks to break down in a home composter at temperatures as low as 15°C. All outer packaging is recyclable.
Are Coffee Pods Biodegradable?
If you’re wondering how environmentally friendly are coffee pods, you’ve probably already got a sneaking suspicion that they aren’t all that buzz worthy for the environment.
The unfortunate truth is most are not biodegradable. Those made from plastic certainly aren’t, and neither are those made from aluminum, although the latter is at least easily recyclable.
Those that are biodegradable are made from various plant-based materials that differ depending on the brand. They include cellulose, corn starch, lignin, paper, sugar beet, sugar cane, and vegetable oils.
How Long Do Biodegradable Coffee Pods Take To Decompose?
This depends on what materials the pods are made from and the specific conditions of the environment they end up in.
The conditions in a landfill are different from those in an industrial composting plant, and the conditions in your average garden compost heap are different again.
What Are Compostable Coffee Pods?
Compostable pods can be safely composted either industrially or at home.
Ideally, we’re looking for pods to safely break down in as short a time frame as possible (less than 180 days, or else it can’t legally be considered compostable).
This is generally achieved in an industrial composting set-up with much higher temperatures than your average home compost heap.
However, brands such as Halo and Roar Gill are committed to creating coffee capsules that you can easily compost at home.
How Do You Dispose Of Biodegradable Coffee Pods?
It’s best to check this with each brand, as there are different recommendations for different types of pods. A responsible brand should be able to tell you exactly how to dispose of your pods once they’ve fulfilled your ethical espresso requirements.
Are Coffee Pods Bad For You?
We’ve certainly answered the question: are coffee pods bad for the environment?
But what about our health?
Most coffee pods are clearly bad news for the planet’s health, but more needs to be said about the potential harm from using them.
Plastic chemicals such as BPA, BPF, and BPS are present in many coffee pods and there are concerns surrounding hormone-disrupting chemicals leaching from these plastics, with studies confirming a level of estrogenic activity, which can produce many biological and adverse health effects in humans.
Aluminum pods also raise health concerns related to aluminum exposure and often contain a plastic lining, too.
These potential health risks are another good reason to ditch plastic and aluminum capsules and opt for safe, compostable, plant-based materials.
How Did We Choose The Best Eco-Friendly Coffee Pods?
The big question is: are compostable coffee pods really compostable?
Certifications are vital for ensuring credibility, so we know that the non-plastic coffee pods we’re buying are the greener option and that a brand isn’t just greenwashing.
Certifications: TUV Austria – OK Compost, EN13432 Standard from European Bioplastics, US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Organic, Fairtrade International, Rainforest Alliance, and Bird-Friendly® Certified, Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI®)
Sure, we need those pods to be planet-friendly, but we want what’s inside them to be good for the planet (and people and animals), too.
We look for brands that prioritize sustainable and ethical sourcing for their ingredients and process them in environmentally-responsible ways.
Supporting coffee farmers is crucial to ensuring a fair and sustainable future for the coffee industry. Transparency is key, and we look for brands committed to paying farmers a fair price for their beans.
The best biodegradable pods also come in biodegradable packaging—AKA coffee pods without plastic. Compostability is king, but at a minimum, packaging should be easily recyclable.
Pay It Forward:
Some biodegradable coffee pod brands help improve the world by incorporating additional values into their business ethics, like donating a portion of profits to charitable causes that make that macchiato taste extra creamy.
Closing Thoughts On Eco Coffee Pods
What is an eco coffee pod?
In a nutshell (coffee bean?), it’s a way to drastically reduce single-serve coffee pods’ environmental impact.
While compostability is crucial, we must also consider a coffee pod’s environmental impact over its entire lifecycle from bean to barista and beyond.
We’re talking sustainable farming practices, carbon-conscious manufacturing and shipping, and eco-friendly packaging.
It’s a tall order for your tall white, perhaps, but one that we need to honor if we want the convenience of capsules without the associated negative environmental impact.
Spread the good caffeinated gospel on how to make coffee pods sustainable by giving this article a share—over coffee maybe!