Love coffee, hate waste? Discover compostable coffee pods from Moving Beans

Fully UnEarthed: An Honest Product Review by Earth Collective

This article is brought to you in collaboration with Moving Beans.

It’s a familiar conundrum for those of us on our journey to tread lighter on the Earth. Once you start seeing the plastic / waste / toxin problem, you can’t unsee it. And then you start seeing it absolutely everywhere, including within your own home.

We may stumble across many questions on the journey to personal planet-positive living. Which is better for the planet, to purchase the “yellow sticker” foods from the supermarket that would otherwise go to waste but are wrapped in plastic, or choose the loose, plastic free produce instead?

Does purchasing a new electric car have more or less of an impact on the environment than a second-hand petrol car?

What do you do with the Nespresso machine you bought before you realised how wasteful plastic and aluminium coffee pods are?

Our philosophy at Earth Collective is that using what you have already have will always be more planet-positive than consuming something new, which is why we love it when clever humans invent eco-friendly swaps for every day items.

And that’s exactly what Moving Beans has done with coffee capsules, by creating an earth-friendly alternative to existing single-use coffee pods. An alternative that is high-quality and low-waste.

Meet Moving Beans – the biodegradable, guilt-free coffee pod

My morning is not complete without my daily cup of coffee. I love everything about the experience – the purposeful mid-morning break that gets me away from my computer screen, the ritual of brewing the coffee and heating the milk, taking a mindful moment to breathe in that warm, toasty coffee smell, before enjoying a sip. Sounds like something out of an advert, I know, but when you work from home these breaks in the day become even more important.

So when I was invited to try out Moving Beans coffee, I was equally excited – because, well, coffee – and apprehensive. More on the latter below, but first let’s look at the exciting part.

Moving Beans offers a variety of hand-selected coffees, served to you in capsules, or “pods”, that are completely biodegradable and compostable.

Moving Beans coffee capsules are completely biodegradable. Image: Earth Collective

Why do we need biodegradable coffee pods?

We are a planet of coffee lovers. 56 billion coffee pods are consumed around the world each year. The UK alone throws out 350,000,000 pods every year, while in 2014, Nespresso made almost enough coffee pods to circle the world 26 times.

In the US, sales of coffee pod machines soared during the past decade, from 1.8 million units in 2008 to 20.7 million in 2018, according to market research firm Euromonitor.

Historically, most coffee pods have been made using plastic or aluminium and many of these are not recycled properly and end up in landfill – or worse, lost in the environment – where they take up to 500 years to decompose.

Although aluminium is a material that has the potential to be be recycled indefinitely, these pods still often end up in landfill despite best efforts from the public around the world, because of one of two reasons.

  1. Coffee pods are often made from mixed materials – plastic and aluminium, which when mixed together to manufacture one item are very difficult to separate for recycling; or
  2. The grounds left inside the pods make them tricky to recycle. Like grease in pizza boxes, food remnants like coffee grounds make it hard for the recyclable materials to be sorted, and once again, the item will end up in landfill.
With a variety of blends, Moving Beans coffee has something for everyone. Image: Earth Collective

Some coffee pod manufacturers, such as Nespresso, offer a free recycling collection service for their pods, however research has found the coffee drinker will look for the ‘path of least resistance’ when disposing of their coffee pods and unfortunately, that sadly often means the general waste bin.

Making coffee pods sustainable

Despite what you have read so far in this article, the idea of coffee pods is actually not all bad for the environment. Recent research has found that drinking pod coffee may actually be a more sustainable way of drinking espresso than nearly any other method of making coffee, as you tend to need a smaller amount of coffee to make a single drink, which means a pods overall impact on the planet can be lower.

Great! But that doesn’t prevent the problem of what happens to the pod when the coffee has brewed?

Moving Beans has the answer

Moving Beans sustainability creds are solid. The capsules are made using materials derived from sugar cane and sugar beet plants, which means they will fully decompose into compost under commercial composting conditions. That means you can just pop them in your usual food waste bin once you’ve enjoyed a cup of your favourite blend. The capsule will fully decompose between 12-16 weeks, and will not release any harmful byproducts in the process – winning!

What about the packaging?

Your pods will arrive to you in a thin cardboard box that does not contain any dyes, laminates or films, so can go in your usual cardboard recycling bin. I choose to put the box into our home compost to feed the worms, as the cardboard is thin enough to degrade and the boxes are finished with plant-based inks and a UV gloss.

The packing materials Moving Beans is shipped in is also fully recyclable.

How do Moving Beans coffee capsules work?

Making a delicious coffee with Moving Beans couldn’t be easier. Simply grab a plastic-free pod from its plastic-free packaging and pop it into your Original Nespresso® (or Nespresso-compatible) coffee machine, as you usually would with your aluminium or plastic coffee pods. Then create your perfect cup of coffee however you desire!

Moving Beans combines convenience with sustainability and quality in its coffee capsules. Image: Earth Collective

Despite being plant-based and totally biodegradable, the capsules themselves feel super sturdy, and keep your coffee safe, dry and fresh until you are ready to make it and drink it.

Ahhh… the satisfying sound of a coffee machine firing up. Image: Earth Collective

Ok, so it’s sustainable, but does Moving Beans coffee actually taste good?

This is where we get to the ‘apprehension’ bit I mentioned earlier.

I admit it, I’m a bit of a coffee snob.

I lived in Australia for 11 years and I tell you what, the baristas Down Under know how to make a good brew! Now, back in my little part of semi-rural UK, it can be tricky to find a quality cup of coffee from a cafe, which is why I prefer to make my own at home. And once I have found a brand or blend of bean that I like, I am hesitant to deviate from it, for fear of disappointment at trying something new. Hence, the aforementioned apprehension at trialling not just a new coffee, but a new coffee that comes in a capsule.

So, what does Moving Beans coffee taste like?

Well, put simply, this is really good coffee.

With a whole variety of Fair Trade coffees to choose from, you are bound to find a blend to your taste. And I had the pleasure of trying them all.

From the intense and dark Bold Ristretto Blend, to the fruity Ethiopian Single Origin, to the surprisingly incisive Bold Decaf Blend, Moving Beans has something for everyone.

Personally, I like my coffee mild and creamy, which is probably why one of my favourites has to be the Kenya Single Origin. Moving Beans states that this coffee is cultivated at an altitude of over 2,000m on plateaus, with soil at exactly the right level of acidity, and in a climate that provides just the right amount of rain and sun. Perhaps we could equate the Kenya Single Origin to the Goldilocks of coffee, where all its elements are ‘just right’.

Moving Beans coffee is packed in the compostable pods in a protective atmosphere so those flavours are never spoiled. Image: Earth Collective

If you love a milky coffee, like I do, the Columbia Single Origin proved another favourite, offering a creamy, mild taste with a hint of chocolate and a delicate, ever so slightly bitter finish on the palate.

The Classic Espresso Blend provides a deeper richness that sits at the front of the palate, before hitting the tongue entirely and leaving you with a bitter tone and an accent of dark chocolate.

For those of us who like to be less caffeinated, but still desire the true taste of real coffee, the Bold Decaf Blend packs a true punch.

Even the packaging is plastic-free and recyclable, or compostable. Image: Earth Collective

It’s safe to say that there isn’t a variety of Moving Beans coffee that I didn’t enjoy tasting, so the only downside to this brand might be being able to choose which pack to purchase first! If you find yourself in that conundrum, Moving Beans has a nifty Discovery Pack ready for you, containing one pack of each of its hand-selected premium coffee capsules, so you can slowly decide on your favourite over time.

Lovely crema on Moving Beans’ Classic Espresso Blend. Image: Earth Collective

On the move with Moving Beans

Remember how I said it can be tricky to find a really good cup of Joe where I live now? BYOC (Bring Your Own Coffee) is always a safe option. But not all portable coffee cups are made equal, you’ve got to find one that preserves the taste of your coffee whilst travelling. Just like with a fine wine, there is always a best vessel to suit the tipple.

Charli enjoying a coffee in the wild, thanks to the Moving Beans KeepCup! Image: Earth Collective

Lucky for me, Moving Beans has teamed up with another Earth Collective verified brand, KeepCup, to create an eco friendly, hygienic and high-quality travel cup. I was already a fan of KeepCup  and I’m sure you have already guessed – I love their glass Brew edition. Made from durable, tempered glass, this travel cup is fitted with a sipper lid and is just a pleasure to drink from.

My husband and I put this travel mug to the test on a woodland walk with our rescue dog. I’m pleased to say it stood up to the test, retaining the full flavour of the coffee and even staying hot enough to warm our hands on a cold winter’s day.

Take your coffee with you on the move with the Moving Beans’ KeepCup. Image: Earth Collective

The conclusion

Moving Beans coffee pods are not just convenient and zero-waste (when disposed of properly), they contain high-quality coffee that truly will satisfy even the fussiest of coffee connoisseurs. I can look forward to my enjoying my morning cuppa in good conscience, knowing the coffee has been carefully and ethically sourced, and will be disposed of in a way that brings no harm to the planet.

Now that’s a good brew.

This was a Fully UnEarthed Honest Product Review by Earth Collective and a paid partnership with Moving Beans. Revenue from paid partnerships helps keep our website running and pay our team, so that our content can be FREE for our readers.

Paid or not, Earth Collective will always be honest when reviewing products. All brands and products promoted on Earth Collective must first align with our Wellness & Sustainability Standard, so you can trust they are as planet-positive as you!

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Charli Ferrand Higgins

After a decade working for global and boutique PR and Marketing agencies in Sydney, with clients that included some of the biggest consumer brands in the world, Charli returned to her homeland of the UK in 2017 and decided the time had come to use her professional skills and experience for good. She has since split her time between supporting passionate, purpose-driven small and medium-sized businesses to grow through conscious content marketing, managing and editing the planet-positive content hub Earth Collective (, and hosting the podcast Easy Being Green? Lessons in sustainable business for SMEs.

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