Most people aren’t thinking about their impact on the environment when reaching for their caffeine fix each morning. Some of us are even under the misconception that coffee pods are recyclable and will happily pop them in the recycling bin after each single use. Unfortunately the break down of coffee pods into recyclable materials isn’t quite so simple and if you were to dig a little deeper about the manufacturing process of coffee pods, you would discover that they often end up in landfill, contributing to the already millions of tonnes of waste we produce each year. With Australians consuming an average of 3 million coffee pods a day, this alarming fact is enough to put a dent into your daily coffee routine.
What are Coffee Pods Made of?
Coffee pods are usually made from a combination of plastics and aluminium with organic matter contained inside. It can take 150 to 500 years for these pods to break down in landfill, which is not good news for those wishing to reduce their carbon footprint on the planet.
Aluminium itself is recyclable matter and can be re-used infinitely. The issue with coffee pods lies in their small size, making them difficult to recycle as resource recovery centres are generally not equipped to handle items so small. What will usually happen, if you put your coffee pod into the recycling bin, is that it will simply fall through the filtering screen and become a contaminant in the recycling system. This means it ends up sitting in landfill anyway, putting your good recycling intentions to complete waste – no pun intended. Aside from their size, the mix of materials in coffee pods often means many local recycling plants won’t accept them.
A Possible Solution
Nespresso has introduced a recycling scheme for their popular coffee pods that may signal a small step toward sustainability. It does require a bit more effort on the part of the coffee drinker, but the good news is that you will be able to enjoy coffee pods with a much clearer conscience knowing that your disposed capsules are going to be recycled properly.
To participate in their scheme, put your used pods in a Nespresso recycling satchel and send it to them via Australia Post or arrange for them to be collected. Alternatively, Nespresso has drop off locations. Once you drop off your pods, they will go to a specialised recycling plant that will separate the coffee grinds from the casing. Coffee grinds can be turned into compost while the aluminium will be melted down and reused.
If you would like more information on what can or cannot be recycled, or would like to speak to someone about the recycling process at recovery centres, contact Solo Resource Recovery today. As a leader in waste management solutions, Solo constantly strives to be more green and eco-conscience when it comes to waste disposal.