Australians drink more than a million and a half cups of coffee a day – which equates to around 2.4kg of coffee grounds per person each year (according to Australian Bureau of Statistics research).
We rarely consider it, but that coffee is accompanied by tonnes of packaging.
One of the world’s leading coffee providers is working on reducing that packaging and encouraging us to recycle more of it.
Unfortunately, coffee pods cannot be recycled by local council recycling programs. So don’t put them in your yellow bins.
Nestlé, producer of Nescafé, has overcome this challenge and partnered with TerraCycle to develop a process to collects used capsules, shreds them and re-uses the various components.
All Nescafé Dolce Gusto capsules can now be recycled. The used coffee grounds are separated, collected and turned into garden compost, says Tracy Hardwick, Head of NESCAFE DOLCE GUSTO Australia and New Zealand at Nestle.
“The plastic is recycled into pellets which are then used for a range of items, such as flower pots, park benches or even new capsules. The aluminium is also recycled.”
The recycling process has been made easy for consumers through an online system, which enables people to print PRE-PAID labels for them to return the coffee pods they use in their machines at home or work for recycling.
Almost 35 per cent of households now have an espresso machine, according to a survey conducted by Harris and Galaxy Research.
To encourage consumers to recycle more, Nestlé also enables those who recycle to donate to their favourite charity.
“For each capsule received, consumers receive 2 cents that can be redeemed for a payment to your favourite non-profit organisation including school or charity,” says Ms Hardwick. We are already seeing local schools, clubs and work places collecting pods as a way to help them raise additional funds. Since the program’s launch in Australia two years ago, half a million of capsules have been collected and over $10,000 has been raised for schools and charities.”
Nestlé has partnered with TerraCycle for the recycling in what it calls a ‘Creating Shared Value (CSV)’ program that benefits all. “CSV means everyone wins, our consumers, the environment, the coffee farmers and supply chain, – as well as our coffee culture,” says Ms Hardwick.?Nestlé already tops the sector’s sustainability index within the food sector. It is the top- rated food and beverage company in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI). Its score of 92 out of 100 was more than double the sector average (39).
The company is the biggest coffee producer in the world – and now one of the largest (if not the largest) coffee pod recyclers. “Nestlé Australia is committed to our consumers, the environment – as well as our coffee culture,” says Ms Hardwick.
Ms Hardwick adds: “Since 2000, we have been a signatory to the Australian Packaging Covenant, an initiative that aims to change the culture of business to design more sustainable packaging, increase recycling and reduce packaging waste.”