Behind The Scenes
Recycling with Nespresso
Nespresso Committed to Recycling
We are all used to using capsule coffee in Switzerland and it really is an amazing invention. Nespresso originally chose aluminium for its capsules as it’s the only material that truly protects the aroma of coffee from light, humidity and oxygen. After we’ve drunk our coffee though, what happens next?
Nespresso has been committed to recycling their capsules since 1991 and I’m sure many of you are already using their “recycling at home service” with their recycling bags, or alternatively taking your used capsules to your local recycling centre. However, have you ever thought what happens to the capsules once they arrive at their destination and the first steps in their “second life”? We went for a trip to Moudon in the French part of Switzerland to take a look behind the scenes to find out exactly what goes on.
A Trip To The Nespresso Recycling Centre
Located on the outskirts of an industrial estate, the Nespresso Recycling Plant is a hive of activity. After a short introduction and a welcome up of Nespresso coffee (served on a block made out of some of the recycled capsules) we were given a tour round the premises. As we were led around the plant each step of the journey was explained to us.
In my naivety I had imagined that the used capsules were simply squashed then smelted and then turned into aluminium – however, the whole process is way more complicated. I now realise what an investment it is and such a commitment.
Recycling Is A Complex Process Involving Lots of Machinery
The recycling plant is filled with all sorts of machinery – each fulfilling a distinct purpose in the recycling process. First of all the coffee capsules have to be sorted through. Unfortunately this is more complex than it sounds as often people mistakenly put plastic and other rubbish in with the capsules and this all has to be taken out at the very start of the process.
Next the capsules are are separated from the coffee and then washed and dried. For each process there is a different piece of machinery involved and the scale of the operations is enormous. It’s a busy, noisy process to get all this done but at the end of it the capsules are compressed into blocks and the aluminium from these Nespresso capsules is then used to make car parts, window edging, pens and lots more.
The Coffee Is Recycled Too
So what happens to the used coffee you may ask? Well this too, is recycled. It is used to make bio gas and electricity – so once again what could be seen as a waste product, becomes something useful.
So when you’re next enjoying your Nespresso coffee you now know that once you’ve used the little capsule a whole new adventure into its “second life” is just about to begin.
Nespresso Recycling Methods
Just a reminder that if you don’t recycle right now, it’s never to late to get started! You can recycle your capsules in three different ways.
You can deposit them at one of Nespresso’s 2,700 public collection points, at any of the Nespresso boutiques or partner stores, or you can simply place your Nespresso recycling bag with your used capsules in your mailbox. The postman will simply then collect the bag when he next delivers the post and the capsules will be sent to the Nespresso recycling plant. You can always take your used capsules to your local Gemeinde recycling centre where they will also be collected before being sent to Nespresso for recycling.
You may like to see this video explaining the process for recycling at home:
The tour of the Nespresso recycling plant really opened my eyes to the complexity of the recycling process – but also made me aware at the same time of how beneficial it is for us all to ensure that we recycle our capsules. By doing so we reduce the carbon footprint of the packaging by 20%.
Migros Now Moving to Recyclable Aluminium Coffee Capsules
In an exciting recent development, Migros have now decided to is convert their Nespresso-compatible Café Royal capsules to recyclable aluminium. This now means that both companies can work together to increase the recycling rate of aluminium capsules in Switzerland from the current figure of 58% to 75%. The capsules can now also be returned to 700 Migros branches throughout Switzerland, as well as to the existing 2,700 recycling points.
It was a great experience visiting the Nespresso recycling plant in Moudon and I really enjoyed my visit. Stay tuned for our next article to find out what becomes of the recycled capsules and what type of second life they have in store after the recycling plant!
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