ENVIRONMENT AND RECYCLING
Where are the coffee capsules thrown away: wet, aluminum, undifferentiated? Here's how and where they are recycled and what happens next. Did you know that many end up in rice fields, for example?
The consumption of coffee in capsules is gradually gaining momentum: we are talking about about 10 billion sales per year in the world. And it is not surprising given the high quality achieved, the numerous blends to choose from and the easy availability that the online has given to its surfers. However, this new market has generated 120 thousand tons of waste (coffee capsules), and in the age of organic, eco-sustainable and recycling first of all, this has immediately become a problem to be solved urgently. So how do you recycle used capsules? There are different types of capsules, those in plastic, those in aluminum and biodegradable ones. Let's start with the most difficult ones.
Recycle the plastic coffee capsules
Plastic capsules are certainly the most complicated to dispose of. If you have this type at home, you will know that the part that contains the coffee is plastic, but the tab is made of aluminum, so it would be normal to throw them without worries in the unsorted waste, but if you care about the environment, our advice is a other. Remove the tab and throw it in the special container for collecting the aluminum, rinse the plastic cup thoroughly so that the coffee residues inside are eliminated and throw it in the plastic bin.
Recycle the aluminum coffee capsules
Fortunately, there are not only plastic capsules and large companies in the sector have found the solution to the problem by proposing aluminum capsules.
But how to make a conscious and environmentally friendly choice in person? In the case of aluminum capsules, the advice is to keep the consumed capsules in a special basket, as you would for paper, plastic or glass, and to take them to the ecological islands of your city. In Milan , AMSA takes care of waste disposal, while in Rome you have to refer to the AMA .
If the capsules are Nespresso, you can take them to the various recycling centers in the Nespresso Boutiques . In fact, for some time Nespresso has started a collaboration with CiAl (Consorzio Imballaggi Aluminum), in charge of collecting and disposing of the used capsules, separating the aluminum from the residual coffee and reusing this coffee as compost for the rice crops, which Nespresso has assigned to the non-profit organization. Food Bank. Nespresso is therefore committed to guaranteeing a sustainable system in all stages of its production. An example is the “The Positive Cup” project, a cup of coffee with a positive impact, from the selection of the capsule components to its final disposal. The ethical choice to adopt aluminum capsules lies in the great potential of this material, which is 100% recyclable and capable of maintaining the properties and aroma of the coffee unaltered. Since 2011 the company has activated a recycling system for used capsules, and to date 61 Italian cities with 108 collection points have joined, contributing to a total recovery of 2700 tons of used capsules. Nespresso has thus carved out an important slice of the capsule recycling market: considering this activity alone, the recycling capacity of capsules in Italy has reached 70%.
Recycle biodegradable coffee capsules
As the name implies, biodegradable coffee capsules can be thrown directly into the wet. The solution was found by the Novamont company, which created capsules in bioplastic, Mater-Bi, a biodegradable and compostable material. It is therefore not necessary to empty the residual coffee from the capsules, just throw the capsules in the wet.
We have given you some solutions. Now it's up to you to decide which one to adopt for the good of the planet… and ours.
Recycle coffee machines
Almost 17,000 tons of smartphones, blenders, tablets, home electric espresso machines and numerous other types of small appliances used. They are collected from ecological islands scattered throughout Italy and from large-scale distribution.
Ecolight, a consortium that deals with the management of WEEE (Waste from electrical and electronic equipment), batteries and accumulators at the end of their life, in 2017 increased volumes by almost 6% compared to the previous year; confirming an important action especially as regards the collection of WEEE belonging to the R4 group. That is small appliances and consumer electronics.
"Among electronic waste, small household appliances are the most difficult to intercept", recalls Ecolight's general manager, Giancarlo Dezio.
«Despite the commitment in terms of collection and awareness, just under a quarter of this waste follows a correct collection and disposal process. The remaining three quarters are in all probability closed in some remote drawer of the house, only to end up in the sack of the undifferentiated ". However, properly recovering an R4 is important.
“Up to 97% of their weight is recyclable waste,” Dezio emphasizes. «They are mainly composed of iron and plastic, materials that can be directed towards a recovery path. So as to obtain secondary raw materials that can be reused in production processes ».
Ecolight's commitment in 2017 was mainly concentrated in the management of small electronic waste: over 75% of what was collected belongs to this group. It has also activated a series of services to facilitate citizens and shops to correctly deliver and collect this type of waste.
«During 2017 - continues the general manager of Ecolight - our campaign for the dissemination of WEEE EcoIslands continued.
Smart bins mainly placed in the immediate vicinity of large outlets; where you can deliver cell phones and battery chargers, remote controls and small appliances.
We have also made it easier for Distribution to properly manage collected e-waste according to the One versus One and One versus Zero principles. Ecolight has collected more than 50,000 WEEE from consumers from almost 2,900 points of sale ».