As early as 2015, Nespresso recognized the need for a recycling program for the tremendous number of coffee pods that were being created each year. At that time, the company partnered with a specialist company to initiate a broad recycling program that would encompass the entire globe.
This was necessary because Nespresso has worldwide appeal and is sold in virtually every country on earth, and most users did not know how to recycle Nespresso pods. However, even with a robust recycling program in place, it has been a difficult task getting consumers to comply with the need to recycle. Whether it’s an inconvenience or just plain laziness, there’s no disputing the fact that the vast majority of Nespresso pods do not get recycled.
The company itself claims that 30% of all pods are now being recycled, but experts doubt this figure and say the actual number may be as low as 5%. Regardless of whom you believe, it’s fair to say that there is much work to be done in order to make significant inroads into the recycling situation, and to make a much more meaningful effort at recycling. Below you’ll find information about how the Nespresso recycling program works in Canada, and how effective it has been to this point.
Not in Canada? Checkout our other guides on;
- How to recycle Nespresso capsules in the USA
- How to recycle Nespresso capsules in the UK
- How to recycle Nespresso capsules in Australia
- How to recycle Nespresso capsules in New Zealand
Why Listen To Us? Well, because we KNOW coffee! In fact, we make our own coffee, coffee machine cleaners, and reusable capsules which we've sold to over 41 countries. Our team ouf experts include Tristan (an engineer), Claire (a food writer) and Richy (a barista). So, whether you're looking for a recipe or repair guide, we've got you covered 💚
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How to recycle Nespresso pods in Canada
If you’re wondering how to recycle Nespresso pods, there are several ways you can recycle your Nespresso pods in Canada.
- Collection points – According to Nespresso, it has established approximately 123,000 collection points around the world for recycled pods, although there are less than 100 situated right here in Canada.
- Return by courier – If you aren’t near one of these collection points, you can simply place your used pods in a recycle bag (provided free of charge by Nespresso) and give them to the courier who delivers your next order of pods.
- Local boutique – If you purchased your Nespresso pods at a local boutique, you can drop off the used pods in a recycling bag at this same shop, and they will be accepted. Each recycle bag will hold about 150-200 used pods, or about 100 Vertuo capsules.
- Canada Post return – When you’re ordering Nespresso online, you can request to be sent some recycling bags, and you can have these bags filled with used pods and returned to Nespresso using the Canada Post delivery system. This is a recently instituted program announced by Nespresso.
What does Nespresso do with recycled pods?
When Nespresso receives recycled pods, the first order of business is to remove the coffee grinds from the aluminum and plastic pods which contain them. The grinds are then allocated for use in the improvement of topsoil and are also used as one component of composting material. This compost will eventually be used as a kind of fertilizer to enrich the growth of other plants. The aluminum and plastic that gets re-claimed from the pods will then either be included in the manufacture of a new generation of Nespresso pods, or it might be used in the manufacture of other goods requiring aluminum or plastic as necessary components. This is the process used by the company itself in terms of how to recycle Nespresso pods.
What can you do with the used coffee grinds?
Coffee grinds that have been used can still serve a useful purpose. They are often combined with composting material or topsoil to enrich it, and from there on the compost can be put to use as a kind of fertilizer to enhance the growth of other plants. Avoid the temptation to simply discard your used coffee grinds, because in these times of diminishing resources, any way we can conserve should be addressed conscientiously. By recycling coffee grinds, you will be saving Earth’s resources, and contributing to the enhancement of new products that can be developed.
Check out this article where we suggest some unique uses for those leftover coffee grounds.
Problems encountered by Nespresso users
The biggest single problem encountered by Nespresso users attempting to recycle is not being close to one of the Canadian collection points. Canada is a very large country, and there are less than 100 collection points in the country, so chances are you live in an area with no nearby collection area. That means you’ll have to remember to return your pods to the boutique where you purchased them, or to make use of the Canada Post recycling system recently instituted by Nespresso.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How many Nespresso pods are recycled in Canada every year?
One maker of compostable pods, Halo, has done some research into this question and discovered that of the approximately 39,000 pods created every minute around the world, only 10,000 of them actually get recycled. Canada would be one of the largest consumers of Nespresso pods, but still only about 25% of all Nespresso pods actually get recycled. It has been estimated that 1.5 billion pods of all types end up in Canadian landfills each year, many of them non-compostable. Nespresso’s pods are compostable, but the majority of the used pods still wind up in landfills, where they give off dangerous methane gases and take up a great deal of space.
This article goes into more depth on the problem that capsule coffee machines are causing.
Q. Can you put Nespresso pods in the recycling bin?
No, you cannot. Most recycling organizations will be unable to process the aluminum and plastic materials the pods are made of, so recycling will be impossible. In addition, the pods are too small to be picked up by recycling machinery, so they just slip through the cracks and remain unprocessed. That means you’ll have to choose one of the accepted recycling methods.
Q. Can I recycle my Nespresso machine?
Many consumers have found that the best way to make continued use of their Nespresso machine is to re-purpose it for making tea, hot chocolate, or simply to prepare hot water that can be used in other beverage preparations.