Nespresso teams with Royal Mail in bid to boost coffee capsule recycling

Nespresso and Royal Mail have forged a new partnership to boost collection rates of the aluminium pods used to house Nespresso products, which 42% of Nespresso consumers have told the brand they find confusing to recycle.

Customers will, from today (16 October), be able to arrange a free doorstop collection for coffee pods with Royal Mail, using the courier’s existing returns service. Collections can be made even when customers are not home. Customers can either print their own returns label or request for their postal worker to print and attach a label on their behalf.

Alternatively, coffee pods can be packaged up and taken to any of Royal Mail’s 14,000+ drop-off locations.

Nespresso UK and Ireland’s chief executive Anna Lundstorm said: “Our official partnership with Royal Mail brings recycling to the heart of the community, no matter where you live in the UK.

“Recycling needs to be convenient, simple, and sustainable – and our partnership with Royal Mail is central to achieving that vision.”

Coffee capsule conundrum

Nespresso’s coffee capsules are aluminium – a material which can technically be recycled infinitely. The brand now incorporates 80% recycled aluminium content in its capsules.

Nonetheless, coffee capsules are not collected by most local councils in the UK with household recycling as their lightweight nature can make separation challenging in most traditional mechanical recycling plants.

A further challenge is the thin fabric filter found in many capsule designs, which needs to be separated out.

With that in mind, Nespresso co-founded a not-for-profit coffee pod recycling service called Podback. This launched in 2021 and collects capsules from a variety of brands through a mix of drop-off points including Nespresso Boutiques.

This summer, supermarket Morrisons trialled the addition of Podback collection points to 29 of its stores.

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