Recycling Initiatives | Sustainability | Nespresso Pro UK

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Recycling & Sustainability

WHY RECYCLE?

We use Aluminium to protect the quality and freshness of our coffees from the adverse effects of light, air and humidity. It is also robust, yet lightweight and can be infinitely recycled, meaning the aluminium can be remelted and reused to make new products time after time.

Our recycled capsules are reused to make drink cans, car spare parts, bicycles and other everyday objects, they even can be reused to make new capsules.

We are committed to the responsible sourcing and production of aluminium and are one of the seven founders of the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI) established in 2009 with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The ASI has driven traceability in the aluminium supply chain and established the first standard covering critical issues for the entire aluminium value chain, including biodiversity management in mining and the protection of indigenous peoples’ rights as well as specific criteria to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and manage water responsibly in production.

In November 2018, Nespresso became the first company to use the world’s first ever responsibly-sourced, ASI certified aluminium, supplied by Rio Tinto. The use of ASI certified aluminium is an important milestone towards reducing the impact that the world’s second most used base metal has on the planet.

Did you know ~75% of the aluminium ever produced is still around today?

RECYCLING PROCESS

Through the dedicated Nespresso scheme, used capsules are sent to a specialist recycling processing plant in Congleton, Cheshire. This is where we process our capsules to enable their re-use.

What is the process of recycling Nespresso capsules?

  1. Capsules are removed from recycling bags
  2. Capsules are shredded to separate the coffee ground from the aluminium capsule
  3. Coffee grounds get a second life as soil improver
  4. Shredded aluminium is smelted then cooled to form blocks/ingots
  5. Aluminium is reused for beverage cans, automotive components, bikes and other everyday objects

2nd LIFE

Aluminium is 100% infinitely recyclable. It does not lose its technical properties when recycled. It is intended to be used again and again, which is why more than 75% of aluminium produced is still in use today.

What happens to the recycled aluminium?

The recycled aluminium from our capsules is re-used to make a wide range of products from drink cans to automotive parts, bicycles and other everyday useful objects and even new Nespresso capsules.

What happens to the recycled coffee?

We re-use the coffee grounds to create compost.

What happens to the plastic recycling bags?

In our recycling process, the empty bags are recovered and transformed into usable energy.

Did you know producing aluminium from already-used aluminium saves energy by 95%?

WRITING THE STORY OF RECYCLING

Nespresso and Swiss writing and drawing instruments company Caran d’Ache have partnered to produce a limited edition ballpoint pen made with recycled aluminium coffee capsules. The pen is presented in deep green of Nespresso Master Origin India capsules, celebrating one of the most popular coffees from Nespresso’s range.

NESPRESSO TAKES RECYCLING UP A GEAR WITH BICYCLE MADE FROM CAPSULES

Nespresso has partnered with Swedish lifestyle bike brand Vélosophy to produce a stylish bicycle made from recycled aluminium coffee capsules.
Created for conscious-living coffee lovers using the aluminium from recycled Nespresso capsules, Vélosophy have re-imagined their classic model in bright purple in a nod to Nespresso’s popular Arpeggio coffee.
RE:CYCLE will delight Nespresso fans with its capsule-shaped bell and cup-holder basket giving them the chance to enjoy their favourite drink on the go.

FAQs

What is your recycling rate?

Approximately just over half of Nespresso capsules in the UK are used to create value after consumption. The recycling rate through our dedicated recycling system is 25% and continues to increase. However, recycling is not the only way to create value from used capsules. In the UK municipal waste is used to generate energy keeping products out of landfill, so the capsules that are not recycled directly through us, are valorised as part of this process which we estimate to be at 26%.

What are you doing to increase recycling rates?

Nespresso set up its own dedicated recycling scheme 25 years ago and the scheme we have in place in the UK has been in operation for over 8 years. We offer a range of options to make it simple and convenient for customers to recycle their used capsules, including over 7,500 collection points for consumers and a recycling service that picks up used capsules from consumers homes.

We are committed to improving our recycling rate and are constantly innovating to make recycling even more convenient for our customers.

Why are Nespresso capsules not accepted in general household/aluminium recycling bins?

The size and weight of small, light aluminium items makes it very difficult to be sorted and disposed of in the correct way. This is why we have invested in recycling collection services and set-up of a dedicated processing facility.

Why do you not put in place a deposit-return system to encourage capsule recycling?

We believe that the best approach to increasing recycling rates is to invest in making it as easy and convenient as possible for customers to recycle and to encourage their participation by communicating regularly about the importance of recycling.

What about Nespresso Professional capsules - can these be recycled?

Nespresso Professional capsules can be recycled just like our at home capsules. The used capsules are sent to our recycling facility for processing however our recycling collection service differs as businesses require a waste transfer disposal note to be supplied.

Why does Nespresso use aluminium for its capsules?

We use aluminium because it has the dual benefit of being infinitely recyclable and it is the best material to protect the freshness, taste and quality of our coffees. Aluminium does not lose its technical properties when recycled. It is intended to be used again and again, which is why more than 75% of aluminium produced is still in use today.

Producing aluminium from already - used aluminium saves energy by 95% versus producing it from ore. The recycled aluminium from our capsules is used in a wide range of other products ranging from drink cans, to automotive spare parts, bicycles and other everyday objects.

Why are Nespresso capsules not made from recycled aluminium?

Nespresso capsules require a special grade of aluminium. The availability of recycled aluminium in this specific grade is very low. In fact, the best source of the correct grade of aluminium is from recycled Nespresso capsules. We have started using recycled Nespresso capsules to make new capsules wherever it is feasible and makes sense environmentally.

Are Nespresso capsules 100% recyclable if they contain a plastic coating/filter?

A Nespresso capsule is primarily made of recyclable aluminium (88% in consumer capsules and 67% in professional capsules). The other materials including the filter, lacquer and silicon ring, represent a small fraction of the capsule. These are melted off in the aluminium recycling process, leaving pure aluminium which is re-melted and reused.

Why do Nespresso capsules have a polyurethane filter?

Every element of our capsules and machines is designed to create the perfect coffee and the small filter in a Nespresso capsule is an integral part of this. The filter prevents the used coffee grounds going backwards in the Nespresso machine water-pipes and causing a blockage to the water flow.

Why does Nespresso not switch to biodegradable or compostable capsules?

We believe aluminium is a sustainable material and recognise our responsibility to continue to invest in and promote its sustainable usage. We have tested other packaging options and so far we have not found any suitable alternative that would adequately protect the quality of our coffee, work as well in our machines or have a better environmental performance than aluminium. Compostable packaging has a role to play but it is important to ensure that capsules made out of this material are collected and treated in the right way. Today, there is no widespread infrastructure in place for consumers to properly dispose of compostable packaging.

What is Nespresso doing to reduce the negative effects of aluminium production?

We are committed to the responsible use of aluminium, including the sustainable sourcing of bauxite and the production of aluminium. We began working with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 2009 to bring together businesses and NGOs to establish the first standard for the sustainable production of aluminium – this has now become the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI).

The ASI has driven traceability in the aluminium supply chain and established the first standard covering critical issues for the entire aluminium value chain, including biodiversity management in mining and the protection of indigenous peoples’ rights as well as specific criteria to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and manage water responsibly in production.

In November 2018, Nespresso became the first company to use the world’s first ever responsibly-sourced , ASI certified aluminium, supplied by Rio Tinto. The use of ASI certified aluminium is an important milestone towards reducing the impact that the world’s second most used base metal has on the planet.

Does portioned coffee generate unnecessary waste?

We believe that portioned coffee makes sense from a sustainability perspective. With the Nespresso precision consumption system, you only use the exact amount of water, coffee and energy needed to make one cup with no wasted resources – minimising food, water and energy waste. With other methods of coffee preparation, you often use more coffee than actually required, boil too much water and use excess electricity to run a hotplate - then throw out left - over coffee. The precise use of resources in a precision consumption system can actually reduce waste and in many scenarios this more than compensates for the additional packaging used for portioned coffee.

We use a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) approach to measure the environmental impact of our products all along their life cycle. This shows that the biggest impacts are in coffee farming, followed by the use of the machine in-home including washing of the cup. Packaging is not the main driver of environmental impact, it only comes third.

What material are our B2B coffee cups made of and are these recyclable?

Like most paper cups, Nespresso Take Away cups are made of paper coated with a thin layer of polyethylene which protects the paper from absorbing the water. Due to this layer of polyethylene, the cups cannot be recycled at municipal waste paper collecting points and need to be managed within a specialised processing plant. We are also looking into an eco-friendly range of cups that can be recycled in mainstream paper recycling schemes and are anticipating trialling later this year.

Are Nespresso Gemini straws and nozzles recyclable?

Yes, our Gemini straws and nozzles are made from “PP” which stands for ‘polypropylene and polypropene’. “PP” is widely recycled in the UK and can be incorporated into existing systems for recycling plastic.

Why must Nespresso provide B2B customers with a waste transfer note?

It is a government requirement for each load of non-hazardous waste moved off commercial premises to have a waste transfer note or a document with the same information, such as an invoice. The waste transfer note that accompanies Nespresso products is supplied by a 3rd party, to request your waste transfer note, please contact our Customer Relations Centre.

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