Certifications E.S.E

Certifications E.S.E

“Il Consorzio E.S.E. precisa che le modifiche apportate a quanto pubblicato in precedenza sono state richieste dal C.I.C. (Consorzio Italiano Compostatori)”, in relazione ad eventi a loro accaduti nel corso del 2013, non correlati all’attività svolta per il Consorzio E.S.E., ma che ne hanno pregiudicato il risultato finale.”

Certification of compliance to the E.S.E. Standard

The Consortium E.S.E. is bound to conduct compliance tests on products member companies intend to certify, to ensure they indeed qualify to bear the E.S.E. mark, which is meant to serve as a sign of guaranteed quality, and not as a means by which to deceive the public.

The Consortium avails itself of inspectors and duly qualified independent Entities to perform these tests (see the SGS profile below).

The certification process is based on product testing and production control parameters defined by the Consortium E.S.E. Inspections are conducted at each member’s production plant in accordance with the schedule agreed upon with the Consortium.

The certification process foresees verifying abidance with all technical specifications foreseen by the Standard E.S.E. In the case of paper pods, the inspection focuses on their geometrical, chemical-physical, sensorial, functional and documented attributes. Machines are checked in terms of the temperature, volume, pressure, thickness of the froth, sensorial, functional and documented attributes. Pod manufacturing machine specifications regard the servings produced by them.

Profilo SGS

SGS has been entrusted by the Consortium to conduct E.S.E. standard compliance checks on Member products. Founded in 1878, SGS is the global industry leader in inspection, analysis, verification, testing and certification services for goods, services and systems.

It has a network of 1200 offices and labs around the world, and more than 32,000 employees.

In Italy, where it started operating in 1915, it provides work to more than 500 people between its own employees, professional consultants and contractors. SGS is an independent inspection and verification entity with 8 business/service divisions:

  • agricoltural;
  • minerals;
  • oil gas & chemicals;
  • industrial;
  • environmental;
  • consumer testing;
  • systems & services certification;
  • trade assurance.

SGS website

Certification of compostability

The process required to officially certify the compostability and biodegradability of E.S.E. (Easy Serving Espresso) standard paper pods started in autumn of 2010.

The positive results of the preliminary disintegration and biodegradability tests now allow the consortium to finally approach the true and proper certification of compostability.

The process should be completed in September 2012, with the confirmation that E.S.E. pods qualify to be discarded as compostable household waste.

The reference regulation would be the same applicable to the disposal of packaging: UNI EN 13432:2002.

Since UNI EN 13432:2002 does not cover “composite products” (definition applicable to the paper pod, the “content” of which is composed of 7 grams of ground coffee and two sheets of filter paper that securely enclose it) the Consortium E.S.E. requested and obtained approval to establish a “paper coffee pod product voluntary certification”.

The voluntary certification will initially be valid in Europe. The final objective however is global validity.

Each and every step in the compostability certification process was followed by:

SSCP (Italian Pulp and Paper Research Institute)

Preliminary biodegradability tests

Biodegradability is intended as being: the determination of the percentage of mineralization and biodegradability of a product in mature compost.

In order for the biodegradability test to be successful, the product biodegradation process curve must reach the 90% range within 180 days maximum (two cycles of 90 days each).

Both biodegradability and disintegration tests are required to determine the actual compostability of a product.

In the initial phase of the test performance was good, as the E.S.E. paper pod biodegradation curve stayed within the average range.

On the 140th day of the test (90 + 50) the biodegradation curve had reached 87%, hence confirming the biodegradability of the E.S.E. paper pod.

Organic Waste System (OWS)

Ring test (cross-validation tests)

The positive results of the above mentioned preliminary tests failed to convince all coffee roasting member of the Consortium E.S.E., who undertook to further verify and cross validate them by means of a ring-test.

To cross-reference with absolute certainty the results of tests performed on E.S.E. paper coffee pods by the Consorzio Italiano Compostatori and those obtained by Organic Waste System (OWS) in Belgium, samples were swapped and tested again by both C.I.C. and OWS.

The samples successfully passed the ring tests conducted by both certification entities.


Pilot regulation drafting and admittance to the certification of compostability

As stated in the foreword, there is only one reference regulation on the disposal of packaging: UNI EN 13432:2002.

Although the filter paper that wraps the ground coffee to form the E.S.E. pod could be considered “packaging” (polypropylene content above 25%), the current standard does not by definition cover any product/composite item or “stand alone unit” such as the E.S.E. paper coffee pod (composed of ground coffee and food grade filter paper that holds and wraps it). In regards to this last, 1% the maximum polypropylene content allowed by law.

Since UNI EN 13432:2002 does not cover “composite products” (see the “Foreword”), at the end of 2011 the Consortium E.S.E. officially asked C.I.C. and Certiquality to establish a “paper coffee pod product voluntary certification” that would not require changing any of the provisions set forth by the only reference regulation.

Between the beginning of January and April 2012, C.I.C. and Certiquality evaluated the E.S.E. “compostable product” requisites and drafted the related Technical Document (DT).

In April of 2012 the Consortium received the go-ahead from both certification entities, who confirmed the possibility of building a “pilot regulation” for the disposal of “compostable product” such as the E.S.E. paper coffee pod, with special emphasis on polyethylene content.

Certiquality profile

The E.S.E. standard paper pod forthcoming certification of compostability

Standard E.S.E. (Easy Serving Espresso) paper coffee pod: the first compostable food product

The E.S.E. Consortium has started the process required to obtain the certification of compostability and biodegradability.
E.S.E. pods will be discarded in the biodegradable waste bin.

Paris, 16 May 2012 – Milan 17 May 2012 – The Consortium E.S.E. announces the forthcoming certification of compostability for the E.S.E. paper pod, which would in fact make it the very first compostable food product in the mass retail market. It also recounts the steps that made it possible for E.S.E. paper coffee pods to become eligible for certification.

“It was not easy. Even though in the single-servings market it could seem rather ‘natural’ for paper pods to be compostable” – says Roberto Morelli, President of the Consortium E.S.E. and illycaffè Director of Global Marketing Projects – “it took almost three years of analysis and tests to prove the compostability and biodegradability of E.S.E. paper pod before we could stand here and announce the creation of a pilot regulation by which the compostability of coffee pods may be voluntarily certified throughout Europe.

Generally speaking, certifications of compostability are used for a limited range of products and “non-food” items like: toothbrushes, diapers, dishes and eating utensils, shopping bags, containers and naturally organic-based packaging material that are fully recyclable and renewable. Even if the word “compostable” is not yet commonly used by consumers, in some cases it has already been used to define products, processes or initiatives that have little or nothing to do with the true and proper certification.

The story the Consortium E.S.E. wishes to tell also includes the first encounter with the only reference regulation for waste disposal, UNI EN 13432:200, which only covers and regulates packaging. Since UNI EN 13432:2002 does not foresee “composite products” (definition applicable to the paper pod, the “content” of which is composed of 7 grams of ground coffee and two sheets of filter paper that securely enclose it) the Consortium E.S.E. requested and obtained approval to establish a “voluntary certification for the paper coffee pod product”.

“To foresee new applications for the regulation without altering its provisions can help anticipate the needs and demands of the market” – adds Luca Bardi, Certiquality Director of Inspections and Product Certification – “because surely the number of ‘compostable products’ to be disposed of similarly to paper pods is bound to increase”.

The Consortium E.S.E. is a precompetitive, international venue (that spans the entire world, from Europe to Japan and the Americas) where leading coffee roasters, coffee machine and pod production machinery manufacturers can meet and collaborate. Consortium member companies compete with each other and pursue their own missions, but share one common goal: that of continuing to develop a market that in the last few years, unlike any other in the food sector, has recorded double digits growth both in terms of servings and coffee maker sales.

“Today we can say that Standard E.S.E. single-serving coffee pods (or E.S.E. compatible versions) rank first in global distribution. Moreover, within the wide range of coffee preparation systems, it is the one most naturally suited to fulfil the emerging demand for eco-sustainability – concludes President Roberto Morelli – “it’s yet another value-adding feature we offer to consumers who have always been free to choose the option best suited to their taste and lifestyle, starting with a closed capsules-driven system or an E.S.E. paper pods open system”.

The Consortium for the Development and Protection of the Standard E.S.E. (Easy Serving Espresso) (*) is the only organization in the world to foresee the vertical integration of coffee roasters, espresso machine and pod production equipment manufacturers. Over the last few years E.S.E. has gained global fame as the “only open industrial standard” in the world, thanks to the technical characteristics that make each E.S.E. single-serving paper coffee pod compatible with all E.S.E. espresso machines. For several years coffee has been the only food market sector to record double digit growth in terms of product volume and invoiced sales attributable to coffee roasters and coffee machine manufacturers. The global appeal of the E.S.E. system and the Consortium was further proven by the recent enrolment of two industrial giants: Japanese coffee roaster Ueshima Coffee Company, and American coffee machines manufacturer KitchenAid.
The E.S.E. system is represented within the Consortium, by the foremost coffee roasters and espresso machine manufacturers in the world. This group of strong companies compete against each other on the market and yet stand united in the firm belief that E.S.E. brand products truly complete the wide range of offerings in today’s single-serving coffee systems market.

For additional information:
Paola Redaelli – redaelli@eseconsortium.com / paola.redaelli@cohnwolfe.com
Tel. +39+2+20239.1 – +39+3497665892
E.S.E. Consortium c/o Cohn & Wolfe
Via Benedetto Marcello, 63 – 20124 Milano

(*) The Consortium promotes an espresso preparation system named E.S.E., which uses serving, meaning a single dose of coffee pressed between two layers of filter paper. The Consortium E.S.E. unites 13 of the leading companies in the espresso coffee market sector.
(+) espresso coffee machines manufacturer (°) coffee roaster (•) pod production machines manufacturer