“The Positive Cup” is Nespresso’s six-year, $550 million sustainability strategy, which covers coffee sourcing, aluminum and capsule recycling, and changing climate.
One of its goals is to develop the capacity to collect for recycling “100% used capsules globally” by 2020 according to Nespresso which currently has the capacity to collect more than 80% of the capsules it sells. The company’s used capsules can be recycled in 34 countries worldwide.
The company aims to convert licensed capsules into new ones where environmentally appropriate. Plastic facsimiles are not accepted. When required, sourcing of 100% of virgin aluminum is compliant with the Aluminum Stewardship Initiative standard.
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The program also calls for 100% sustainably sourced coffee and for its coffee operations to be carbon neutral.
“Nespresso cannot achieve these objectives alone,” said c.e.o. Jean-Marc Duvoisin. That is why the company is teaming up with many partners, including the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Fairtrade International, the Rainforest Alliance, Pur Projet, and TechnoServe.
Nespresso has recycled capsules since 1991. Swiss households have 99% capacity to recycle with doorstep recycling and 2,600 collection points and recycling facilities. There are 14,000 Nespresso collection points worldwide.
Coffee grounds removed from capsules will soon be used as natural fertilizer and to generate electricity in Vaud where a biogas plant will convert 3,000 tons of coffee annually into enough energy to power 1,000 homes.
Nespresso even uses recycled aluminum to make the panels of some of its Pixie coffee machines.
Composting is emerging as the fastest growing solid waste diversion opportunity in the US. Nespresso partners with TerraCycle and AgChoice, two US companies that specialize in efficient recycling that has positive effects on the environment. Nespresso has three recycling options to allow consumers to conveniently return their capsules, including 500 collection points across the country. Mobile apps and a consumer website help Nespresso club members identify the closest collection point.
Nespresso also partners with UPS to offer recycling bags for consumers to mail back used capsules from various UPS locations. Consumers can also take their used capsules to any Nespresso Boutique, or they can return them at participating retail locations, where 100% of returned capsules will be recycled after extracting coffee grounds for compost.
Recycled aluminum requires only 5% of the energy to mine and smelt an ingot from bauxite and requires only 10% of the capital investment in equipment. There is no limit on the number of times aluminum can be recycled. Americans recycle more than 50 billion aluminum cans annually.