Italian factory invents biodegradable pods that disintegrate in just 50 days

Coffee machines revolutionised the way caffeine addicts drink at home but the gadget’s nifty pods are causing serious harm to the planet.

More than 300 million coffee capsules are being sent to landfill every year and aluminium capsules take up to 200 years to disintegrate.

Now an Italian factory claims it has found the solution after inventing biodegradable coffee capsules that break down in just 50 days, Monday night’s Food Unwrapped on Channel 4 reveals.

Mater-Biotech in Novara, near Milan, creates compostable coffee pods out of vegetable oil, a chemical used in hair dye, and sugar.

It is a very new process that only began two years ago, but experts are hailing it as the future of plastics.

Co-presenter Jimmy Doherty visited the plant to see how the factory turns an unlikely group of ingredients into a bioplastic.

First the factory creates a chemical reaction between the vegetable oil and hydrogen peroxide to create a white powder.

Then, liquid sugar is fermented with microorganisms.

A machine stretches out the mix into what factory manager Maurizio Trevisan calls ‘plastic spaghetti’ which is then chopped into plastic pellets.

Jimmy told Maurizio on the show: ‘Not only are you saving the world and reducing waste from plastic, you’re making plastic spaghetti.’

The plastic is then reheated and moulded into a coffee capsule shape.

Jimmy states: ‘This is the future of coffee capsules – but not just coffee capsules, of plastic packaging, carrier bags, everything.’