Are all Pods Recyclable?
To drink our coffee without guilt, we have to talk about recycling coffee pods. Coffee pods are made of a variety of materials. Many have the entire capsule made of food-grade aluminum. Some are a combination of foil and plastic, with many having an internal coating to make them safe for food consumption. In theory, the coffee pods should be recyclable. This is because coffee pods are continuously discarded and are now in landfills everywhere. A great resource is this Consumer Report article, that not only talks about Nespresso compatible pods, but other types as well.
The truth is a little more complicated. Even all-aluminum pods aren’t easily recycled. Many facilities require clean products and will reject the pods because they are filled with coffee grinds. Others say the pods are too small for their equipment. It is lucky for the environment and consumers that some manufacturers have programs that deal with this very issue. Nespresso, for example, will ship a recycling bag at no cost, with postage paid. When you send the used capsules back, the manufacturer will clean the pods and reuse the aluminum.
Other manufacturers of plastic or combination pods also have similar programs, like Bestpresso. They will give a second life to the pod and use the coffee grounds for fertilizer or other applications. These manufacturers, however, are not the norm. While their packaging says that the pods are recyclable, the truth is that unless they take them back or make them of biodegradable materials, it is likely the pod will end up at a landfill.
What to Do about Recycling Coffee Pods?
That is why we urge you to exercise mindful consumer behavior and contact the manufacturer of your favorite pods. Please ask them to recycle! The best way to fix the problem is for the companies to take control and establish a recycling program. Recycling coffee pods should be part of the coffee preparation and enjoyment routine!