How Nespresso closed the loop on office recycling (and how your office can too)
Michael Ebert, Nespresso Environmental Specialist
Companies everywhere are ramping up efforts to recycle, starting with their employees. They're the ones printing the sheets of paper and drinking coffee capsules that can easily end up in the wrong bin.
People often want to do the right thing, provided it’s easy and convenient to do so. So, for recycling to be successful in the workplace its need to be easy for employees to make the right choices when it comes to choosing which bin to dispose of their waste in. As a first step to helping make recycling simpler in your office, speak to your building manager or waste contractor about what items can be recycled in your building. You may be surprised at just how much you can recycle.
Next, make some more legroom and ditch the under desk recycling bins. Hiding recycling bins away makes them harder to locate and access and means that often items become mixed up. Rather having all the various bin options side by side and out in the open helps make it easy for staff to sort waste correctly. Adding some simple signage near the bins also helps employees make the right choices.
Once you start considering what can be recycled you’ll discover that just because it can’t go in the recycling bin doesn’t mean it is destined for landfill. According to Planet Ark, about 80 to 90 per cent of solid waste is actually recyclable, however, there remains a lack of awareness about what can and can’t be recycled in the office.
Paul Klymenko, CEO of Planet Ark, commented “Most Australian workplaces recycle the easy things like paper and cardboard but at Planet Ark we are encouraging them to help close the recycling loop taking an even stronger approach to recycling items like e-waste, batteries and coffee capsules.”
Many dedicated recycling programs exist for recyclable items used in workplaces which are not collected through recycling bins. These are easy and often free to participate. As the pioneer of coffee capsules in Australia, Nespresso noticed a desire amongst businesses to do right by the environment and recycle their coffee capsules.
So, about 5 years ago, we embarked on a mission to help ensure that by 2020, 100% of our Australian customers have convenient access to a capsule recycling point by creating our own dedicated recycling system. We partnered with a recycling plant in Nowra, NSW, to put in place a bespoke system to recycle Nespresso used aluminium capsules. Our local recycling program now allows offices to easily contribute towards creating a sustainable future, making it as convenient as possible to return capsules for recycling. Nespresso's Bulk Collection box can be used to collect both in-home and Professional used aluminium Nespresso capsules, making it easy for employees to contribute by bringing their Nespresso capsules in from home. Used coffee capsules that are recycled through our recycling program are then smelted into new aluminium that can be used to manufacture new products, while the used coffee is used to make natural compost.
Although we have established a wide reaching recycling program that is helping ensure our capsules go on to live again, we’re not stopping there. We have established a Recycling Working Group to advise us and help guide our recycling efforts and to ensure continuous improvement.
As a founding member of the Recycling Working Group, Paul Klymenko notes “We meet regularly with Nespresso to discuss challenges and review initiatives, all to make sure that Australian office workers are able to recycle their used coffee capsules as simply and conveniently as possible”.