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Are Nespresso Pods Recyclable? Here's What You Should Know

Nespresso pods sitting on coffee beans
Nespresso pods sitting on coffee beans - Phish Photography/Shutterstock

Many companies stamp product packaging with indications of recyclability, in some form or another. But very few offer to actually recycle, and reuse, the discarded packaging themselves. As it turns out, Nespresso is one of the companies that does. It's part of their "three R's" strategy to reduce, resuse, and regenerate. The goal is to reduce waste by extending the viable use of materials for as long as possible, specifically with all those cute little capsules and pods that hold our morning coffee granules.

As lofty as that goal sounds, is it really practical for everyday coffee consumers to participate in a process like that? In this case, that possibility is what distinguishes Nespresso. It runs a free program through which coffee connoisseurs can send those pods sailing home to Nespresso's umbrella of participating recyclers. With at least 122,000 collection points in the recycling enterprise, it has a whole lot of collaborators. From there, the recyclable aluminum components of the Nespresso pods, also referred to as capsules, get new lives in unexpected and tangible ways (think tennis shoes, for starters.)

The keys to customer participation in any recycling program are things like convenience, cost, and confidence in the venture's legitimacy. It also helps to believe in the cause or benefit of the efforts. Here's a look at how Nespresso approaches the concept, and how consumers can be part of the bigger picture. Hint: Request the free postage-paid recycling bags with every coffee order.

Read more: 26 Coffee Hacks You Need To Know For A Better Cup

How Nespresso Recycling Works

Nespresso pod recycling bag
Nespresso pod recycling bag - Nespresso

Nespresso uses aluminum for its coffee pods, which seals in freshness and flavor while keeping the granules protected from degradation due to moisture, light, and oxygen. Aluminum is also "infinitely recyclable," meaning it can be reborn over and over, either into new capsules or countless products such as soda cans, computers, bicycles, cars, window frames, and more. There are even the equivalent of 12 recycled espresso cups in each pair of recycled sneakers from a Nespresso and Zeta Shoes collaboration.

Contributing to the recycling effort is obviously not required by devotees of Nespresso pods and machines. But there's a carefully constructed process for those who wish to do so. First of all, the company provides free recycling bags that consumers can fill with about 200 used capsules from original Nespresso machines or 100 Vertuo machine pods. There's an option to add the free bags to any online order. They're sturdy and flexible with a simple adhesive seal, with several ways to send them on their merry way.

Many consumers might live near one of the 122,000-plus collection points for easy drop-off, but other options exist. Any Nespresso Boutique location accepts the filled recycling bags, as do partner stores, including most UPS walk-in locations in the United States. You can also hand the bags over to your postal carrier when they deliver your new pods. In New York City, no recycling bags are required; the used pods/capsules can be placed in blue residential recycling bins.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.