Aluminium is fully recyclable. Until recently, however, this material, highly prized by manufacturers and consumers, was insufficiently recovered—especially in the form of small packaging items lost in household waste. With aluminium pods representing nearly 20% of its carbon footprint, the Nespresso brand has been concerned since 2009, working to improve the recyclability of small metal waste, including aluminium. This is why it has developed its own process to collect and recover its pods.
The process is active in Morocco, for example, where demand for waste treatment and recovery is growing. Nespresso calls on SUEZ’s expertise in the field to offer a second life for its coffee capsules in the country.
To simplify collection and encourage recycling, Nespresso provides its clients (cafés, hotels, restaurants and members of club Nespresso) with recycled plastic bags that can contain up to 200 used pods (1). These bags are then collected and transferred to the SUEZ waste recycling an recovery plant in Bouskoura, south of Casablanca. Here the coffee grounds are separated from the aluminium pod (2) and given to the association Terre et Humanisme, which promotes agroecology and the preservation of local resources, for transformation into compost and fertilisers (3). The aluminium is recovered by traditional methods. It can be transformed into a new material for use in making soft drink cans, bicycles, refrigerators (4).
Worldwide, 44 other countries have introduced similar systems for recycling Nespresso pods. In France, over 25,000 tonnes of pods have been recycled since 2009. The trend is likely to spread with the growth of new mechanisms to facilitate recycling.
This article was published in the seventh issue of open_resource magazine: "Sustainable food, sustainable planet"