Although coffee pods seem entirely harmless, they pose a serious threat to our garbage problem. And with so many capsules using plastic, it only makes it worse.

Nespresso coffee pods in trayIt’s thought that around 39,000 coffee pods are made each minute, and 29,000 end up in landfill sites.

So what can we do to help reduce the number of coffee pods ending up at the landfill?

Well, the first option is to cut down on drinking coffee, but I understand this isn’t a viable option for many people (including me).

So what other ways can consumers reduce waste? Or what’s the most sustainable way to consume coffee? Is Nespresso recycling possible?

Are Nespresso Pods Recyclable?

If you drink Nespresso pods, then you’re in luck, they are made from aluminum, which means they can be recycled. But, I’m sorry to say that it does take a little bit of effort.

Because the pods are made from aluminum, you can recycle them forever. Which let’s face it makes a nice change when you compare it to their plastic counterpart.

By recycling the aluminum, we stop the need for more natural resources to dug out the ground. It also reduces the amount of greenhouse gases being emitted from possessing virgin material, which is usually a lot higher than recycling.

How To Recycle Nespresso Pods

Like I mentioned earlier, Nespresso pods recycling takes minimal effort. And the only reason it takes a little bit of effort is that recycling centers can’t take them. The Nespresso capsules are too small for your standard recycling plants.

Used Coffee podSo, what should you do? How do you recycle Nespresso capsules?

There are a few ways you can get them to a recycling plant.

The first option only applies if you’ve ordered your Nespresso pods online, then you’ve probably been given recycling bags.

Once you’ve filled the bag, you send it off with the postman when you receive your new order.

If you purchased your pods at the store, you still have a couple of options available to you. You could order the recycling bags from the Nespresso website.

Once the bag is filled, you can either drop your coffee pods to one of the Nespresso boutiques.

If that’s not an option for you or you haven’t got a Nespresso boutique, then you can send it directly to their recycling program via UPS.

As I said, it requires minimal effort, and in the long run, it’s going to help save the planet.

How are Nespresso Pods Recycled?

Because I don’t want to bore you with the whole coffee pod’s recycling process, I’m going to break it down to the essential parts — everything else you can kind in the video below.

The coffee pod recycling starts when the bag gets dropped off to their recycling program. The pods are then sent to their separation business.

This is where they split the coffee grounds from the aluminum. The waste coffee grounds are surprisingly useful; they create a very nutrient-rich topsoil compost. But that’s not the only thing it’s useful for, it can also be turned into biogas.

The recycled Nespresso aluminum is then sent to various other recycling centers. This is where it gets weighed and melted down, ready to be repurposed. The aluminum is more than likely turned into more recyclable coffee pods or turned into a pen that they’re selling.

How to Reuse Nespresso Pods

Nespresso coffee pods can get expensive, especially if you drink as much coffee as I do. So is there a way of reusing Nespresso pods to increase sustainability?

Reseal Nespresso coffee podsI’ve heard of a few people trying to save a few dollars by reusing the capsules twice.

The majority of people haven’t had any problems with this, although I can imagine that the taste from the coffee grounds could be weaker.

Using the pods twice makes it far more sustainable by reducing waste, but it also helps save you some money.

If weak coffee isn’t your thing, then we have another option for increased sustainability.

There’s been a rise in people cleaning the Nespresso capsules out and reusing, and it’s easier than it sounds. Here’s a step by step guide on how to reuse your Nespresso coffee pods:

  1. Empty the coffee grounds and compost, then clean the leftover grounds with warm soapy water.
  2. Fill the Nespresso pod with your favorite brand of ground espresso coffee.
  3. You need to leave about one millimeter of space at the top once it’s been packed down.
  4. Make sure you clean off all the edges on the Nespresso capsule; you don’t want to clog your coffee machine with pieces of coffee grounds.
  5. Measure a piece of aluminum foil out; it needs to be at least 1 cm larger than the diameter of the pod.
  6. Wrap the foil around the capsule tightly, and use your fingers to create an airtight seal.

By reusing your Nespresso pods, not only do you save money by not buying them from the store, but you lower the carbon footprint created by recycling plants.

Summary

So, remember Nespresso pods are made with aluminum, which is a valuable resource we must recycle. And they can be recycled continually, so they don’t have to dig for new materials.

The company Nespresso share the same views at helping the planet, as many other people do. They set up a sister business called Nespresso Boutiques, to cut down on landfill waste.

Consumers can drop your used pods off with them, and they’ll take care of it. The company also turns the used coffee grounds into nutrient-rich compost or biofuel.

Nespresso recycling page

If you cant get to one of their drop off points, you could always send them via UPS, or if you ordered online, you could send them back with your next order.

If you don’t fancy recycling them, why not reuse them? It will lower your carbon footprint and save you money in the long run. All you have to do is follow the guide above.

I hope this has cleared any questions you may have had, but if it hasn’t, why not drop me a comment below. I’m always happy to help. And please show some support and share our post on social media.

If you thought this article was interesting, why not check out my article on biodegradable K-cups. The company has grown huge over the last few years, and the waste was becoming a real problem.