Nespresso: FAQs

This information has been provided by our sponsor, Nespresso

  1. Why is Planet Ark working with Nespresso?
  2. What is Nespresso doing as a business to be more environmentally sustainable?
  3. Don't capsules generate a lot of unnecessary waste compared to other forms of coffee?
  4. Where can I recycle my Nespresso coffee capsules?
  5. How can I recycle my Nespresso coffee capsules?
  6. What are Nespresso capsules recycled into?
  7. Are Nespresso capsules made from recycled aluminium?
  8. Why doesn't Nespresso use 100% recycled aluminium to make new capsules?
  9. Why aren't Nespresso capsules compostable?
  10. Why aren't Nespresso capsules reusable?
  11. Does Nespresso accept other brands of capsules/pods in their recycling collection systems?
  12. Is the rest of the Nespresso capsule packaging recyclable?

1. Why is Planet Ark Working with Nespresso?

Planet Ark is working with Nespresso to encourage Australians to make a New Year’s #RecyclingResolution, e.g. to use Nespresso’s recycling scheme for used coffee capsules, or to purchase products made from recycled materials.

Working with business is at the heart of what we do at Planet Ark. We recognise that businesses have potential to greatly impact the environment in either a positive or a negative way. That’s why we work collaboratively with businesses like Nespresso to help drive positive environmental change. 

Coffee capsules are very popular in Australia. We want to make sure as many capsules as possible are prevented from going to landfill where the materials are wasted. We want Aussies to know just how easy it is to recycle your capsules so they can be turned into new products!


2. What is Nespresso doing as a business to be more environmentally sustainable?

Nespresso has committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2022 and recently it introduced capsules made from 80% recycled aluminium to the Australian market. The company invests in sustainable coffee sourcing through its Rainforest Alliance certified AAA Program, resulting in better livelihoods for farmers and their communities.

Nespresso is a founding member of ASI (a global standard for sustainable aluminium) and has invested $300,000 in research into package sustainability at the University of NSW.

Learn more here.


3. Don't capsules generate a lot of unnecessary waste compared to other forms of coffee?

Nespresso used a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) approach to measure the carbon impact of its products. The study showed that the greatest impacts are the processes of coffee farming, followed by the machine-use phase and then the packaging. The Nespresso precision consumption system allows customers to use the exact amount of water, coffee and energy needed to make one cup of coffee without using any additional resources. This minimises food, water and energy waste.

In terms of packaging waste, every Nespresso capsule sold in Australia can be recycled through its scheme which has more than 19,000 collection points across the country (including post boxes) and sees capsules recycled at a purpose-built facility.

Learn more about the LCA here.


4. Where can I recycle my Nespresso coffee capsules?

You can recycle Nespresso capsules by dropping them off at a Nespresso Boutique or participating collection point which you can find via RecyclingNearYou.


5. How can I recycle my Nespresso coffee capsules?

  • Every Nespresso capsule sold in Australia can be recycled through its scheme which has more than 19,000 collection points across the country (including post boxes) and sees capsules recycled at a purpose-built facility.

  • You can recycle Nespresso capsules by dropping them off at a Nespresso Boutique or participating collection point which you can find via RecyclingNearYou.

  • You can order a free recycling kit with a bulk recycling box to collect on behalf of your building, community or workplace. A free of charge service is available for larger customers.

  • Businesses can also use these boxes to provide a collection point for employees to bring in their used Nespresso aluminium capsules from home.

  • You can make use of Nespresso’s Australia Post satchel to return used capsules for recycling if you don’t have a drop-off location near you.


6. What are Nespresso capsules recycled into?

Each coffee capsule you recycle can come back in another everyday object – another capsule, bicycle, Swiss army knife, BBQ tongs, peeler, ladder, window frame or watch case.

In Australia, capsules are sent to a purpose-built facility in New South Wales. There, the aluminium is separated from the residual coffee and the used aluminium is recycled and sent back to the aluminium industry to produce new aluminium products. The coffee goes to a neighbouring industrial composting facility to be transformed into compost.


7. Are Nespresso capsules made from recycled aluminium?

Nespresso recently introduced capsules made from 80% recycled aluminium to the Australian market. By the end of 2022, Nespresso aims to have the full original Line of Vertuo ranges of coffee capsules made using 80% recycled aluminium. Because aluminium is infinitely recyclable, these capsules can be recycled through Nespresso’s recycling scheme.


8. Why doesn't Nespresso use 100% recycled aluminium to make new capsules?

Nespresso must use some virgin aluminium to fine-tune the alloy. The membranes are still made from virgin aluminium.


9. Why aren't Nespresso capsules compostable?

Nespresso uses aluminium to protect the quality of its coffee. Aluminium provides protection against factors such as oxygen, light and humidity that can compromise freshness, taste and quality.

Using aluminium capsules allows Nespresso to eliminate the need for any additional packaging or overwrap to protect freshness, providing further advantages from a sustainability perspective. Aluminium is also fully and infinitely recyclable.

Most capsules marketed as biodegradable or compostable require an industrial grade composter to break down. Australia currently does not have nationwide organics recycling infrastructure that is set up to recognise or completely process compostable packaging.

Nespresso regularly looks into new innovative materials and is open to considering new options. Currently, it considers aluminium to be the best packaging option available.  


10. Why aren’t Nespresso capsules reusable?

Nespresso does not produce reusable capsules due to a number of factors including quality control, potential for coffee tampering, and the challenge of integrating capsules with its machines. When using reusable capsules, it is likely you are using coffee that has been open for a while and has lost much of its freshness, which compromises the quality of the coffee in the cup.

Nespresso regularly looks into new innovative materials and is open to considering new options. Currently, it considers aluminium to be the best packaging option available.


11. Does Nespresso accept other brands of capsules/pods in their recycling collection systems?

Nespresso's recycling scheme is custom built and tailored to its own products, however, if other capsules happen to end up in Nespresso’s recycling stream, provided they are made from 100% aluminium, they will also be recycled.


12. Is the rest of the Nespresso capsule packaging recyclable?

Nespresso's capsule sleeve packaging is entirely recyclable through Australia's kerbside recycling system. Nespresso’s new Vertuo machine is also made using 54% recyclable material, and sold within fully recyclable boxes, made from 95% recycled material.