Nespresso funds Australian-first recycling trial in North Sydney

This article first appeared in Appliance Retailer Oct-Nov 2021 issue

iQ Renew and CurbCycle are trialling an Australian-first coffee capsule recycling program, in partnership with Mosman Council and Willoughby City Council, with funding provided by Nespresso. 

The pilot sees 5,000 households in Mosman and Willoughby in Sydney’s north receive a specially designed bag to collect their used aluminium coffee capsules to then place in their recycling bins for collection. 

Insights from the trial will help inform the development of a national coffee capsule recycling scheme led by Planet Ark. 

“It is great to see this trial occurring and we want to thank all of the collaboration partners for making this possible. By providing their communities with the additional option of kerbside collection it will allow more people to recycle their coffee capsules and contribute to a circular economy,” Planet Ark CEO, Paul Klymenko said. 

Under the pilot, capsules will be separated from other recycling at iQ Renew’s Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) and transferred to Nespresso’s recycling system in NSW for separating into coffee grounds and aluminium. The aluminium will go to aluminium producers to save 95 per cent of the energy required to source aluminium from scratch with coffee grounds going to local commercial compost.

According to iQ Renew CEO, Danny Gallagher, the trial provides a way to test how capsules can be collected and sorted, while assessing household demand for the scheme.

“While aluminium coffee capsules can already be collected for recycling through store drop-off, post and bulk recycling boxes, their small size has been an obstacle to recycling in traditional kerbside recycling systems,” he said. 

“We have looked at kerbside collection systems overseas to see what works and are optimistic that the Curby system of placing them in a bag will allow them to be separated easily in our facility.”

With funding for the trial provided by Nespresso, general manager, Jean-Marc Dragoli said that the company’s experience in developing similar recycling schemes overseas had shown that convenience is king when it comes to the success of recycling. 

“We need to make it as easy as possible for people to get their used capsules recycled, and we know kerbside recycling is the easiest path. We hope that this increases the number of capsules we can collect and process for a better future,” he said.

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