Beginning on America Recycles Day, Nespresso, the City of New York Department of Sanitation (DSNY) and Sims Municipal Recycling (SMR) are encouraging New Yorkers to recycle their Nespresso coffee capsules and other lightweight aluminum items through the city’s curbside program. New Yorkers can recycle all small aluminum products in the same recycling bin as they do plastic, glass and other materials. This initiative makes it possible for even more of these articles to take on a second life and eventually transform into new products, such as automotive parts and soda cans.
Earlier in 2019, Nespresso committed $1.2 million to improve the recovery of small aluminum and better allow for the curbside recycling of its coffee capsules in New York City. In most cities, the size and light weight of such items, including foil and house keys, require that they be divided from other mixed metals using special equipment. With the coffee company’s funding, SMR purchased new technology to better sort and capture these articles, increasing the efficacy of the city’s recycling system.
“We make our capsules from aluminum because it’s a fully recyclable metal, and it is an excellent material for preserving the quality of our coffee,” said Guillaume Le Cunff, president and CEO of Nespresso USA, in a statement. “We are constantly innovating to make recycling easier for Nespresso customers and to contribute new solutions to all recycling challenges, and we’re excited to help improve recovery in New York City and lessen the amount of all kinds of aluminum in our landfills today.”
This collaboration with DSNY and SMR supports New York City’s Zero Waste initiative. It has the potential to reduce the 43,000 tons of aluminum foil and other mixed metals that currently end up in local landfills each year.
“We encourage New Yorkers to recycle their aluminum coffee capsules and other lightweight aluminum items, like foil and can lids, with their other recyclables,” said Kathryn Garcia, DSNY commissioner, in a statement. “We fully support this effort as it helps on our city’s path to zero waste and applaud Nespresso for being a strong example of how the private sector can contribute to solving recycling challenges in our communities.”
“Our glass plant processes more than 11,000 tons of materials per month, and we’re excited to see that number increase due to our collaboration with Nespresso and DSNY,” said Thomas Outerbridge, general manager of SMR, in a statement. “The materials that are recovered in our facility are sold to manufacturers, which allows them to be turned into new products.”
Nespresso’s existing dedicated recycling program in the United States, in partnership with UPS, will continue to be made available across the country. Consumers can bring recycling bags with used coffee capsules to one of 88,000 UPS drop-off locations or to one of 500 collection points in Nespresso Boutiques and select retailers around the country.
Once capsules are collected via the recycling bag program, they are sent to recovery businesses that separate the aluminum from the coffee grounds to give them a second life. The aluminum is processed and, ultimately, reused to create new products. The coffee grounds are turned into compost and topsoil.
Globally, Nespresso has worked with a range of municipalities and businesses to invest in dedicated initiatives that enable the convenient recycling of used capsules. In 1991, in Switzerland, it helped to develop the first recycling system dedicated to Nespresso capsules. The coffee company also helped implement a municipal recycling program in Paris that is similar to the one in New York City. Consumers in Finland, Germany and Sweden can also recycle their capsules in the same way they do other household packaging.