Australian Government to support national recycling scheme for coffee capsules

By Liam Taylor 14 December 2020

Planet Ark to lead scheme development in partnership with Nespresso and Woolworths Group.

The Australian Government recently awarded funding for a new national recycling scheme for coffee capsules to a consortium led by Planet Ark Environmental Foundation.

The funding will go towards the development of an industry-wide national product stewardship scheme for all coffee capsules available on the domestic market.  The project is critical to raising recycling rates, reducing organic material in landfill and increasing access to collection points for a rapidly growing waste stream and already has the support of industry leaders including Vittoria, Kruger ANZ and Grinders Coffee.

“Planet Ark is thrilled to be leading the development of this important program. It will accelerate the expansion of an industry-led product stewardship scheme for coffee capsules.  This will enable Australians to enjoy their home-made espresso, knowing the product’s end-of-life is being managed responsibly,” said Paul Klymenko, CEO of Planet Ark

The funding is being provided through the National Product Stewardship Investment Fund, a $20 million fund to improve existing and kickstart new schemes. The Fund forms part of the Australian Government’s $167 million Australian Recycling Investment Plan and National Waste Policy Action Plan to increase Australia’s recycling rates, tackle plastic waste and litter and halve food waste by 2030.

Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management, Trevor Evans MP, said we are shifting the dial in Australia as we change our mindset to thinking about waste as a resource.

“Australians love their coffee, and this new product stewardship scheme for coffee capsules will reduce waste going to landfill, lift recycling rates and help consumers make a practical, positive difference for the environment,” Minister Evans said.

To execute the program, Planet Ark will lead a consortium including Nespresso and Woolworths Group. Nespresso brings the invaluable experience of running their own coffee capsule recycling program in Australia for many years. Woolworths Group will work with the project partners to evaluate the feasibility of in-store capsule collection and subsequent transport to recycling facilities. 

Nespresso General Manager Jean-Marc Dragoli said the company was keen to see coffee capsule recycling offered industry-wide.

“We have developed a robust program which has been collecting and recycling them in Australia for 10 years. We are keen to work with other manufacturers so that all consumers buying capsules will have access to recycling. This is why we partnered with Planet Ark’s consortium, to make this a reality,” Mr Dragoli said.

Director of Woolworths 360, Laurie Kozlovic said: “We’re proud to be working with Planet Ark to develop innovative solutions like the Coffee Pod recycling initiative. 

“We want to make sustainable choices easier for our customers and we look forward to offering them a convenient place to drop off their used coffee pods, knowing they’ll be saved from landfill and have a second life in a new product. 

“We’re always looking for ways to support the development of a circular economy, whether it’s through smart initiatives like this one or our ongoing work to make our own packaging more recyclable.”

In recent years the market in Australia has grown substantially with an increasing number of households and organisations turning to coffee capsules for their daily brew.

Liam Taylor
Prior to joining Planet Ark Liam spent his time studying global environmental issues, travelling Southeast Asia on the cheap and working for a sustainable property management company in Bali, Indonesia. Joining the communications team at Planet Ark, he hopes to inspire positive environmental behaviour through effective and positive messaging.