The U.S. Plastics Pact consortium has awarded its first-ever Sustainable Packaging Innovation Award to Darien, Conn.-based Smile Compostable Solutions® in the composability category. ISRI is a member of the U.S. Plastics Pact.

The award showcases companies that are eliminating problematic and unnecessary plastic packaging while taking actions to ensure that 100% of plastic packaging is reusable, recyclable, or compostable by 2025. Smile is recognized as a business making strides to advance sustainable packaging solutions.

Smile—which recently changed its name from Smile Beverage Werks—was chosen by a panel of expert judges in circularity and packaging engineering from leading retailers and sustainability organizations. Their criteria included the improved environmental impact of the product, likelihood of commercial viability, and the level of potential impact in moving the industry toward sustainability.

Smile Coffee Werks-brand plant-based polymer compostable coffee pods are compatible with Keurig and Nespresso brewers. Typical polypropylene #5 pods are rarely recycled, due to small size, food contact, and the need to separate the lid, filter, and grounds before recycling. Smile’s pods compost whole, eliminating water waste from cleaning and lid disposal.

“This validation from the U.S. Plastics Pact should prove to companies sitting on the sustainability fence that there is an immediate compostable, carbon-neutral, and plant-based solution that gives everyone in the coffee pod industry the opportunity to reduce their plastic and carbon footprints to help improve the environment,” Smile CEO and Co-Founder Michael Sands says. “Why wait until 2025 when consumers want it and it is available today?”

The composability category judges how well a product meets Biodegradable Products Institute’s (BPI) composting certification standards. In addition to passing ASTM D6400 and D6868 standards, BPI-certified products must be associated with the diversion of materials desired by compost manufacturers and cannot be a redesign of a product that’s a better fit for recycling.

Smile’s pod is also free from BPA, PFAS, and petroleum plastic while exceeding BPI’s certification mark requirements by displaying accurate marketing language and certification logos on all packaging, including on the actual lid of the pod itself.

“Smile Compostable Coffee Pods are a fully compostable packaging solution with countless opportunities for expansion. The judges were impressed with their holistic approach to making sure the full package was compostable and designed to clearly communicate that to the consumer,” says Crystal Bayliss, U.S. Plastics Pact program manager, circular economy strategic relationships. “We applaud Smile Compostable Solutions on their efforts to help businesses and individuals meet their plastic and carbon reduction goals and can’t wait to see what they do next.”

Founded by The Recycling Partnership and the World Wildlife Fund and launched as part of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s global Plastics Pact network, the U.S. Plastics Pact connects diverse public and private backers across the value chain to rethink the way Americans design, use, and reuse plastics.

Photo courtesy of Smile Compostable Solutions. Caption: Emily Tipaldo, U.S. Plastics Pact executive director; Michael Sands, Smile Compostable Solutions CEO; and Crystal Bayliss, Plastics Pact program manager.