The recycling of coffee capsules, traditionally made of aluminium, has been the main problem of this format since its appearance in the mid-2000s. It does not seem to affect the sales of capsule coffee machines, but there is no doubt that concern remains in the sector and among consumers. What do I do with the coffee capsules? Where do I throw them? How is the recycling of the coffee capsules?
The question of how to reuse coffee capsules may be partly solved with the recent appearance of compostable capsules. However, there is still a long way to go before they find favour with the public and their consumption eventually replaces traditional capsules. As long as the large format brands, mainly Nespresso and Dolce Gusto, do not join this initiative, there is nothing to be done, do not join this initiative; there is nothing to be done.
Let’s, without further ado, go over how coffee capsules are recycled and what use we can make of them if we don’t want to throw them away.
Ideas for recycling coffee capsules
You don’t know what to do with empty coffee capsules? Well, inventing or replicating some crafts with coffee capsules is an excellent way to give a new user to your used pods. The most convenient for this purpose is the Nespresso and Dolce Gusto formats (also compatible).
Recycling coffee capsules with jewellery is an increasingly popular option, even in schools.
Which container do the coffee capsules go in?
The first impulse, and the main mistake of many consumers, is to think that the capsules are plastic, and therefore throw them into the plastic container. No. Some brands’ single-dose capsules have some plastic parts, and others are made of aluminium, but they are not containers made entirely of this material.
To be able to throw the coffee capsules into the plastics container, it would be necessary to separate each of the parts of the single dose by hand and throw only the part that is made of plastic or aluminium into the plastic container. Note: do not merely empty the coffee and throw the rest of the capsules into the plastic container, but only throw away the corresponding part. It is a cumbersome job that would not be feasible. And besides, the capsules are not considered as packaging.
Throwing the coffee capsules into the organic waste bin is not recommended either, mainly because they cannot be separated from their contents (the coffee grounds) and therefore need a different treatment.
Composting capsules can be thrown in the organic bin. The most recommendable option, in short, is to take them to a recycling centre.
Okay but, where can I find a recycling and waste centre for my coffee capsules?
First, you should check if the manufacturer or the brand of your capsules has its program for collecting and recycling the capsules. It is usually a matter of taking them back to the store where you bought them. It is the case with Nespresso, for example, and some others.
If your capsules do not have a recycling system, you can check if there is a recycling centre in your city where they collect empty coffee capsules. Here you should make the necessary enquiries individually in your town.
What happens with the empty coffee capsules?
Once they have been recycled and collected, whatever the method, the most common thing to do is to separate the coffee on the one hand (the remains) and the metal (aluminium) on the other.
Once the separation is done, the used coffee grounds are used to make compost (the same purpose as the compostable capsules), and the aluminium is melted again and reused to produce more capsules. In this way, zero waste.