Coffee Capsules

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Coffee Capsules Never Recyclable Curbside

Coffee capsule creators often tout their products as “recyclable.” In theory, the plastic portion of a coffee capsule is (not the lid or filter). In practice, however, the cups are actually too small to be captured and recycled in recycling facilities where objects are separated based on size and density.

Alternative Ways to Recycle

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Nespresso Capsule Recycling

Find a collection point to drop off your Nespresso capsules for recycling. Or you can order a Recycling Bag for Nespresso capsules free with any purchase from Nespresso’s website. Each bag can hold up to 200 OriginalLine or 100 VertuoLine capsules. Once filled, you can return this bag at no charge via UPS.

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iperEspresso Capsule Recycling Program

The illy coffee company created the iperEspresso Capsule Recycling Program, which upcycles iperEspresso coffee capsules and turns them into beneficial products like park benches. Drop off used capsules at a Sur La Table location or learn more about mail-in options here.

Ways to Reduce

Purchase a Reusable Coffee Capsule

Instead of buying individual brand-name coffee capsules, try a reusable capsule like the EZ-Cup, which will work in your single-serve coffee machine with your own coffee and uses biodegradable filters. You could also consider the 100 percent compostable cup, the PurPod100.

Did You Know?

The Price of the Coffee Capsule Craze

Coffee capsule packaging creates about 966 million pounds of waste annually, or the equivalent of throwing out 150,000 Hummer H2s every year. Designer Eason Chow invented the Droops Coffee Maker, a cup alternative that is entirely edible, in order to solve this growing problem. Find out more.

A Recycling Program That Turns K-Cups into Cement

It’s small, but it exists: in Canada, there’s a program that recycles K-Cups into cement. In 2014, it recycled about 1.4 million K-Cups for this purpose by drying the pods, shredding them, and heating them to 2000°C to form ash, which is subsequently turned into cement. The program has been so successful that it may expand into more Canada locations.