Quality inspection – Nespresso production plant in Avenches, Switzerland. © Nestlé Nespresso SA

Quality inspection – Nespresso production plant in Avenches, Switzerland. © Nestlé Nespresso SA

Small – but packs a fair punch!

Portion packs better than their reputation

The multinational Nestlé group has already responded to criticism of its Nespresso capsule system, and around 75 per cent of its aluminium capsules is now being recycled. Photo: ‘Colored coffee’ © Nic

The multinational Nestlé group has already responded to criticism of its Nespresso capsule system, and around 75 per cent of its aluminium capsules is now being recycled. Photo: ‘Colored coffee’ © Nick Harris, Flickr.com

It is partly thanks to George Clooney that a lovely cup of coffee has become so much of a lifestyle feature for many Germans as they make their favourite cups of early morning coffee at the press of a button. For quite a while, coffee capsules and single portion coffee bags were in disrepute because they were said to cause unnecessary waste and pollute the environment. Yet it has now been confirmed by two independent studies that, in a best-case scenario and when we look at the entire product lifecycle, single portions are more sustainable than conventional coffee-making methods.

Wasting less food

Portion packs are above all handy. Children and the elderly benefit particularly from small portion packs.

Portion packs are above all handy. Children and the elderly benefit particularly from small portion packs. The 330-millilitre bottles from the British company One provide a double benefit, as the proceeds are used to support non-profit environmental projects. © The One Brand.

The two recent analyses by the European association Flexible Packaging Europe and the Swiss management consultants Quantis Canada have come to identical conclusions: A look at the entire lifecycle reveals that instant coffee in single portion bags and capsules has less environmental impact than coffee in bulk packs. The decisive arguments are the amount of work that goes into making coffee machines and grinding coffee, the minimal use of material and the aspect of food waste.
Three years ago, in 2012, the German conservative politician Ilse Aigner challenged packaging manufacturers to respond more clearly to the needs of consumers and to provide smaller portions. XXL packa

Three years ago, in 2012, the German conservative politician Ilse Aigner challenged packaging manufacturers to respond more clearly to the needs of consumers and to provide smaller portions. XXL packages no longer fit into our present age of increasing single households. @2015 Mondelez Schweiz GmbH

The production of single food units also has the approval of the German Consumer Advice Centre, Bundesverband-Verbraucherzentrale. Even though XXL packs seem cheaper at first sight, they do not actually pay their way, as consumers often do not finish the entire package, but throw some of it in the bin. The same is true for the bigger packages.
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