Every year, coffee manufacturers around the world produce an estimated 56 billion single-use coffee capsules; it would take 150 years for these capsules
to decompose in landfills. Due to their many components, the recycling process for coffee capsules has proven particularly complex. Each capsule is made out of a combination of plastic, foil and aluminium, which makes them difficult to recycle in standardised recycling plants.
Accordingly, Nespresso aims to motivate its customers to recycle used capsules by means of targeted campaigns and appearances of celebrities from all sectors. At around 122,000 collection points in total, customers can hand in old coffee capsules. Special plants then separate the aluminium cases from the coffee grounds, which are then processed to compost, topsoil and biogas.
Nespresso UK makes things even easier for its customers and offers to collect empty coffee capsules from end consumers. In New York City, Nespresso furthermore cooperated with the local Department of Sanitation and Sims Municipal Recycling, and built a state-of-the-art sorting plant for 1.2 million dollars. This plant has been designed specifically for aluminium coffee capsules and thus allows recycling without any problems. This in turn enables consumers to continue to dispose of their coffee capsules in their normal household waste along with plastics, glass and other material, whilst still feeding them back into the recycling economy.