The Ola Home Compostable Capsules Story

Our capsules exist because compromise shouldn’t

When given the choice between what’s best for us and what’s best for the world, we didn’t see a choice at all.

We created the world’s first 100% compostable paper capsule because the rest of the world had placed an urgent need for coffee above the urgent needs of our planet.

60 billion plastic and aluminium coffee capsules have found themselves in places like landfill and the ocean where they will remain for up to 500 years.

We wanted to leave a bigger impression on the world than our waste does and we wanted to do it while drinking the world’s best coffees. When we discovered that wasn’t an option we decided to make it one. We are committed to serving the world’s best coffees, in a format that the world loves, in a way that doesn’t damage our planet

The world’s best coffees, in a way that’s best for the world.


Ola home compostable coffee capsule. A paper Nespresso capsule against a dark background

The Problem

The majority of the worlds coffee capsules are made of plastic, aluminium, or a combination of both.

Of the 13,500 capsule coffees consumed every minute, only 21% of them are recycled. This is because some coffee capsules cannot be recycled at all, while those that can are recycled via a long and tedious process. The un-recycled capsules can remain on our planet for up to 500 years.

As the world is becoming more aware to the environmental damage caused by plastic and aluminium use. The coffee capsule industry has responded by producing capsules that are more easily recyclable. But putting a reassuring word like ‘recyclable’ on the front of a box can be misleading and doesn’t instantly solve the problem. Unless coffee capsules are taken apart, washed out and processed in specially equipped facilities after use, they can’t be recycled. 

Another way consumers are being misled is by companies putting 'compostable' on their packaging, then in very small print on the back of the box, or hiding it on a website, say commercially compostable only. Consumers only realising after putting the capsules in their home compost then finding them many months later still in one piece. Bio-plastic capsules still need to be sent off to specially equipped plants where they may still be rejected due to the similarity in look and feel to oil-based plastics, and in fact many commercial composting plants are rejecting these products because the bioplastic contaminates the final compost product with microparticles of plastics and bioplastics.

The coffee capsule industry has found a way to meet the minimum requirements for printing consumer-reassuring, environmentally friendly terms on their packaging – but not much has actually changed.

There are still thousands of colourful, shiny capsules dropping into the top of Nespresso machines every minute, most of them destined to stick around for hundreds of years longer than the businesses who made them and the people who use them.

Brands won’t stop tacking green credentials onto their products in order to appeal to an evolving consumer conscience. It’s always going to happen and it’s no bad thing. It proves that consumers can make a difference and demand can truly change supply. However, it’s not OK to use eco-jargon to confuse people into purchasing something that isn’t as good as they think.

It’s also not OK that responsible coffee consumption often comes with a sacrifice. Consumers who make an effort to find products that truly live up to their claims and research how to dispose of the packaging properly are faced with a limited selection. Businesses often sell all their best coffee in non-environmentally friendly packaging and their token eco-friendly ranges force a choice between palate and planet. We don’t believe this compromise should ever be made. And that’s why we exist.

‘The brands that consumers want now, care about craft, about beauty, about perfection. But the brands that consumers truly love, care about all of these things without foresaking the world around them.'  Nils Leonard, Co-founder

 Keep our ocean plastic free

What we are doing about it

We have created the world’s first Nespressò compatible, 100% compostable paper capsule made from sugarcane and paper pulp.

This means wherever they end up our capsules won’t be there long. When they break down they allow nutrient-rich coffee grounds to become fertile soil.

Our capsules can be thrown in food waste, compost or worm bins, and don’t need to be taken apart at home before processing or be broken down by specially designed machinery at waste management plants.

And not believing in compromise, we filled our innovative capsules with the best coffees in the world, only using the top 3% of the World's best speciality grade coffees.

Three Ola home compostable capsules against a white background

Where we are going

This company was born to bring people the World’s best coffees in a way that’s best for the world.

We designed our capsules in response to the environmental damage caused by plastic and aluminium pods. It’s a big problem and the solution is a collaborative effort. We work with an international network of environmental experts as well as our members to keep improving and innovating.

We are always learning and one thing we’ve learnt is that a commitment to excellence isn’t easy. We’ve had to balance more individual suppliers than we first realised we would need in order to ensure that all our packaging is as sustainable as possible. We’ve repurposed off-cuts, turned printing proofs into gift boxes and we’ve asked ourselves at every stage, “how can we do this in a way that’s best for the world?” Every time we’ve been presented with an opportunity to just do it the normal way, we’ve interrogated the process until we found a way to do it better.

We are entering a new age. One that refuses to treat the planet worse than we treat ourselves. One that insists on never doing one without the other. Ethical consumption is no longer a category, it’s a culture.

Every time someone buys our coffee, we move closer to our goal. Coffee is what we know, so that’s where we’ve begun. But it’s not the end. We are always going to be seeking out opportunities for collaboration, and, critically, for education too. This is where we have got to, but to go further we need to keep learning.

We want everyone who enjoys our coffee to be part of our story. We’re not just inviting people to drink great coffee, we’re inviting opinions too.