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!

TerraCycle programs

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.

Australian coffee capsule recycling programs

ProgramAccepted WasteNot Accepted WasteTerraCycle charity points offer
L’OR, Moccona & illy, CamposAluminium-only coffee capsules from L’OR Moccona, illy & Campos (relevant brands only).Other brands coffee capsules & cardboard or other external packaging (place cardboard in kerbside recycling).$0.02 per capsule for all shipments over 7kgs (7kgs equates to $10.32).
NESCAFÉ® Dolce Gusto®NESCAFÉ® Dolce Gusto® plastic capsules including Starbucks by NESCAFÉ® Dolce Gusto® capsules.Other brands of plastic coffee capsules, aluminium capsules from accepted brands and cardboard external packaging (recycle through kerbside bins).Earn 2 points or $0.02 per capsule. 
Roast & Return compostable capsules
AND
Roast & Return aluminium capsules
ALUMINIUM
Allpress, Alora Coffee Co., Axil Coffee Roasters, Koko Espresso, St Ali Coffee, Thieves, Veneziano Coffee Roasters and White Horse Coffee aluminium coffee capsules. 
COMPOSTABLE
Wood Fired Coffee compostable coffee capsules.  
Coffee capsules from brands not listed above, any non-compostable capsules, loose coffee grounds & cardboard external packaging (place in kerbside recycling).
Seven Miles All Seven Miles coffee capsules.Any other brands of coffee capsules that aren’t Seven Miles & cardboard or other external packaging (place cardboard in kerbside recycling).Earn $1 per kg of Seven Miles capsules.
LavazzaAny aluminium Lavazza capsules & any plastic Lavazza capsules.Other brands of coffee capsules & cardboard or other external packaging (place cardboard in kerbside recycling).

New Zealand coffee capsule recycling programs

ProgramAccepted WasteNot Accepted WasteTerraCycle Charity Points Offer
L’OR, Moccona, illy, Campos & Jed’s L’OR, Moccona, illy & Jed’s aluminium coffee capsules.Other brands of coffee capsules, & cardboard or other external packaging (place cardboard in kerbside recycling).$0.02 per capsule for all shipments over 7kgs (7kgs equates to $10.32).
NESCAFÉ® Dolce Gusto®NESCAFÉ® Dolce Gusto® plastic capsules including Starbucks by NESCAFÉ® Dolce Gusto® capsules.Other brands of plastic coffee capsules, aluminium capsules from accepted brands and cardboard external packaging (recycle through kerbside bins).Earn 2 points or $0.02 per capsule. 
Robert HarrisAll aluminium Robert Harris coffee capsules.Other brands of coffee capsules, plastic capsules & cardboard external packaging (recycle through kerbside bins).$1 donation will be made to Breast Cancer Foundation NZ for every kg of accepted waste.

3 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.

    Like

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