Nespresso recently issued an invitation to other portioned coffee manufacturers to join its recycling program, paving the way for a global recycling scheme for aluminum coffee capsules. The move was endorsed by the Nespresso Sustainability Advisory Board (NSAB) during its annual meeting in Geneva.
By inviting other portioned coffee manufacturers to join the program, Nespresso hopes to improve the accessibility and convenience of aluminum capsule recycling. Companies joining the Nespresso recycling program will also take part in defining the funding and governance model and encourage more widespread use of the service.
In most countries, the public recycling infrastructure is unable to process small light items such as coffee capsules, so Nespresso set up dedicated schemes 28 years ago. Today it is the most advanced in the industry, covering 53 countries with more than 100,000 drops off points. Until now it was offered exclusively to Nespresso customers.
This capsule recycling initiative by Nespresso has the potential to drive significant positive change on one of the key issues that face the portioned coffee industry — the capsules themselves. The aluminum from recycled Nespresso capsules has many and varied uses: from car engines to computers to cans, and even new coffee capsules. The coffee grounds are used to produce biogas and natural fertilizer.
The coffee manufacturer recently announced a US-based recycling initiative. It will soon be possible for New Yorkers to recycle aluminum coffee capsules via curbside recycling in NYC with a $1.2 million commitment to Sims Municipal Recycling (SMR).
Nespresso, an operating unit of the Nestle Group, sells single-serve coffee capsules and says it has a “deep commitment” to the circular use of its products, choosing aluminum packaging because it both protects the quality of the coffee and can be recycled and reused. The investment will assist SMR in adding the additional technology that is required to improve the efficiency of its non-magnetic household metals recycling process; the equipment will be operational starting in fall, 2019, at which time residents across all five boroughs will be encouraged to recycle Nespresso capsules as well as the 43,000 tons of aluminum foil and other mixed metals that currently end up in landfill each year.
And in November 2018, Nespresso signed an agreement with major metal company Rio Tinto to use Aluminum Stewardship Initiative-certified aluminum for their coffee pods. The deal should help Nespresso get closer to the company’s goal of using 100% sustainable aluminum by 2020.
The 4th Annual Environmental Leader & Energy Manager Conference takes place May 13 – 15, 2019 in Denver. Learn more here.