Top tips to save your coffee capsules from a lifetime in landfill

If you’re a daily coffee drinker, your cherished caffeine hit may be the number one thing that gets you up and going in the morning. But what you may not always consider is the environmental impact of your beloved brew. Aussies consume around three million coffee pods daily. Unfortunately, the majority of coffee pods can’t go in your kerbside bin – even aluminium pods. 

Coffee capsules are hard to recycle. Here’s why:

  1. It’s hard to separate coffee grounds from capsules to recycle the pure metal or plastic
  2. Coffee capsules are made from mixed materials (either aluminum+plastic or two types of plastics). This needs to be separated and go to different processors, which makes it expensive with only a small return for the pods.
  3. Once collected, the compostable coffee capsules are sent to a commercial composting facility where they will be combined with other organics and bacteria and microorganisms will break them down into compost.

Luckily there is a FREE recycling solution for consumers to tap into! TerraCycle partners with top coffee brands like NESCAFÉ® Dolce Gusto®, L’OR, Lavazza, Moccona, illy and Jed’s NZ to help provide a recycling solution for you. 

There are a few things you can do to improve coffee capsule recycling outcomes – so here are some quick and easy tips:

  1. Storage – in order to recycle this waste stream properly, squeeze excess liquid from your capsules before storing, to avoid dripping packages. Good storage will also minimise smells from old coffee capsules. 
  2. Dry – Please make sure your coffee capsules are dry and sealed in a plastic bag before placing them in your collection box. Rest assured, TerraCycle will also recycle your plastic bag. Additionally, if you choose to rinse your product, please note that it must be completely dry. You cannot ship dripping packages. 
  3. Don’t forget – Simple steps will make it easy to remember to recycle your coffee capsules instead of tossing them into the rubbish bin. Place a small bowl beside your coffee machine, ready to collect your empties. You can also print off a poster from your program page to remind your work colleagues or household to recycle.

For a refresher on best practice shipping for your coffee pods, check our blog here on why you need to ship waste from different programs separately!


In Australia and New Zealand, TerraCyclers make a huge difference each week by participating in our recycling programs for a number of coffee capsule brands. Each program comes with its own set of rules, and understandably this sometimes makes things a bit confusing. 

To help you get the most out of your coffee capsule recycling program, here’s a snapshot of our different programs and the dos and don’ts for each.

L’OR, Moccona & illy, Campos AU and L’OR Moccona, illy & Jed’s NZNESCAFÉ® Dolce Gusto®Roast & Return Coffee compostable capsules
Roast & Return aluminium
Seven Miles Lavazza
REGIONAustralia & New ZealandAustralia & New ZealandAustraliaAustraliaAustralia
ACCEPTED WASTEAustralia L’OR coffee capsules (aluminium only)All Moccona coffee capsules (aluminium only).All illy coffee capsules (aluminium only)All Campos coffee capsules (aluminium only)
All L’OR coffee capsules (aluminium only)All Moccona coffee capsules (aluminium only).All illy coffee capsules (aluminium only)All Jed’s coffee capsules (aluminium only in NZ)
All plastic NESCAFÉ® Dolce Gusto® CapsulesAll plastic Starbucks® by NESCAFÉ® Dolce Gusto® CapsulesAluminium capsules
Allpress, Alora Coffee Co., Axil Coffee Roasters, Koko Espresso, St Ali Coffee, Thieves, Veneziano Coffee Roasters and White Horse Coffee aluminium coffee capsules. Compostable Coffee pods Wood Fired Coffee compostable coffee capsules.  
All Seven Miles coffee podsLavazza Blue, Espresso Point and Espresso Point Maxi capsulesLavazza A Modo Mio capsulesLavazza capsules compatible with Nespresso® machines 
NOT ACCEPTED WASTEOther brands of aluminium coffee capsules Other brands of plastic coffee capsules Aluminium capsules including aluminium Starbucks® by Nespresso capsulesCardboard external packaging (recycle through kerbside bins)Coffee capsules from brands not listed above Cardboard external packaging (place in kerbside recycling)Loose coffee groundsAny other brands of coffee capsules that aren’t Seven MilesOther brands of coffee capsules Cardboard or other external packaging (place cardboard in kerbside recycling)
TerraCycle points for a non-profit charity or school$0.02 per capsule for all shipments over 7kgs
7kgs equates to $10.32
Earn 2 points or $0.02 per capsule Earn $1 per kg  o seven miles coffee pods

2 thoughts

  1. I remove the used coffee & put it in my compost. Can I recycle the plastic tubs anywhere or just keep binning them? FYI, they are Kfee (Aldi) pods.


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