Nespresso marks ten years of recycling scheme

Coffee brand Nespresso has recycled enough aluminium in the UK to produce 40 million cans as it marks a decade since the launch of its coffee pod recycling scheme.

Nespresso coffee podsNespresso launched its recycling scheme for aluminium capsules in 2010 with Tandom Metallurgical Group, which receives used Nespresso capsules at its specialist recycling facility in Cheshire and reprocesses them into car parts of cans, while the used coffee grounds are used to create biogas and soil improver.

Nespresso customers have the option to drop off their pods at a Nespresso outlet or book a home collection which will then be taken to the Cheshire centre. To make the option to recycle even more accessible to consumers, Nespresso has also been trialing kerbside collections of used coffee capsules since 2017.

Over the course of the recycling scheme’s existence, enough aluminium has been recycled to produce 40 million cans, with over a third of capsules sold in the UK and Ireland being recycled. Nespresso has also saved enough carbon energy to heat 6,000 average households for one year.

The coffee brand has also collaborated with brands such as Vélosophy to create innovative and inspiring objects such as the RE:CYCLE bicycle to demonstrate the potential of recyclable aluminium.

Nespresso celebrates 10 years of its recycling scheme as record amounts of aluminum are collected for recycling – likely spurred by people staying at home during lockdown – with 76,933 tonnes of aluminium collected for recycling in the first half of 2020, up 52 per cent on the 50,744 tonnes collected over the same period in 2019.

Tandom’s Commercial Director, Andy Lumsden, has praised the success of the recycling scheme. He said: “Nespresso’s passion for recycling and circularity has been clear from the start. This milestone marks a decade of commitment and innovation throughout our partnership and we have made huge strides in directing materials away from landfill and making energy savings in saving aluminium for new uses.”

The Aluminium Packaging Recycling Organisation (Alupro) has supported Nespresso’s recycling scheme since it began 10 years ago. Executive Director Rick Hindley said: “It makes us incredibly proud to now be able to say we played a part in helping to create a recycling operation that has constantly improved, delivering a vital service to their customers and the planet. We’re excited to see how the recycling scheme further develops and how different it will look in another ten years.”

Reflecting on the past ten years, Guillaume Chesneau, Managing Director of Nespresso UK and Ireland, said: “For over thirty years, Nespresso has created quality coffee experiences that go hand in hand with sustainability. We are proud to have been leading the industry in aluminium capsule recycling in the UK for the last 10 years. We are committed to building on these strong foundations and harnessing every opportunity to have a positive impact on the world, continuing to take action in our quest towards circularity.”

Although aluminium can be easily recycled, and saves approximately 95 per cent of the energy used to extract it from ore, it is still far from being an entirely environmentally friendly and ethical product. The extraction of virgin aluminium is environmentally damaging, requiring vast mines leading to deforestation, water pollution and the clearance of habitats and indigenous people's livelihoods.

To combat this, Nespresso has been part of the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI) since 2009, which aims to minimise the risks involved in the harvesting of aluminium, with both people and the environment being protected. In 2018, Nespresso was the first company to commit to only use aluminium that is responsibly sourced supplied by Rio Tinto.

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