Nespresso has launched what it says is the first coffee capsule on the market made using 80% recycled aluminum. The new capsule is being used for Nespresso’s Original Line Master Origin Colombia coffee. It was introduced in March in selected countries and will continue to be rolled out from July onwards. By the end of 2021, Nespresso aims to have the full Original Line and Vertuo ranges of coffee capsules made using recycled aluminum.
“We are constantly challenging ourselves to improve the sustainability and circularity of our operations, including the way we source, use, and recycle materials. Reaching 80% recycled aluminum in our capsules is a significant milestone, and something we have worked hard to achieve together with our suppliers,” says Jérôme Pérez, Nespresso Head of Sustainability.
According to Nespresso, it has always used aluminum for its capsules for a several of reasons: Aluminum is infinitely recyclable, it is one of the most widely recycled materials in the world, and it optimally protects the freshness and aromas of high-quality coffee, providing a perfect barrier against oxygen, light, and humidity. Recycled aluminum, it notes, requires less energy to produce than a virgin product, so it is well-suited to use in a circular business model. Made of a thinner aluminum foil, each new, recycled-content Nespresso capsule is produced using 9.2% less aluminum material, and is therefore 8% lighter.
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The launch of the capsules follows the introduction of new fully recyclable boxes for Nespresso machines, made from 95% recycled material, earlier this year. By the end of 2021, Nespresso plans to have all machines sold in this new packaging.
“These new initiatives take Nespresso a step closer to creating a more circular business model,” says Pérez. “We will continue to work towards increasing the proportion of recycled aluminum in our coffee capsules and to drive up the recycling rate of our used capsules, making it as easy as possible for our customers to recycle them.”
Increasing recycling rates
Nespresso has also reached a global recycling rate of 30% and will continue to work to increase it. Since 2014, the company has invested over 185 million CHF (approximately US$195 million) in its recycling programs globally, with over 100,000 collection points in 53 countries.
“Consumer participation is central to success, so we are incredibly grateful for the enthusiasm our customers have shown in achieving our current recycling rate. We aim to now build on this positive momentum. We will continue our efforts to promote recycling among consumers, working towards achieving our ultimate ambition of recycling all of our capsules,” says Pérez.
Recycling is a collective effort, and increasing recycling rates is dependent on four key elements:
1. Further strengthening the communication to consumers to raise awareness and drive participation;
2. Working with authorities to integrate capsule recycling into collective recycling schemes;
3. Increasing the number of collection points;
4. Integrating other portioned coffee manufacturers into its recycling scheme to improve availability and accessibility of aluminum capsule recycling.
“These initiatives are an integral part of Nespresso’s ongoing commitment to the responsible use of aluminum. As announced in November 2018, we will continue to work alongside our partners to use aluminum compliant with the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI) standard for responsible and sustainable aluminum, whether it is sourced from bauxite or from recycled material,” Pérez concludes.