Convenience versus Waste, Can Coffee Pods be Recycled?

Convenience versus Waste, Can Coffee Pods be Recycled?

60 billion coffee pods go to landfill yearly— 80% of these end up in the ocean. The good news is it doesn’t have to be that way — coffee capsules can be a convenient, eco-conscious choice when disposed of correctly.

Regular Nespresso-compatible coffee pods, as we learn, are usually made from plastic or aluminium, or a mix of both. That means that you can’t simply throw them away because it can take up to 500 years for them to decompose in a landfill.

So, what eco-credentials should we look for when buying coffee pods? Compostable, biodegradable and easier to recycle.

100% aluminium coffee pods can be recycled however this has to happen only once you have properly emptied the contents, this means piercing the foil and cleaning out all the coffee grains (into your food waste bin) before it goes into the kerbside recycling.

The reality is that many of us just aren’t going to do a thorough enough job, negating any eco credentials in the process. There are schemes where you can send your coffee pods back directly to a recycling facility but I want to find out which ones are the best for lazy recycling.

This means the pod has to be compostable, made from plant-based materials such as bio-based corn starch, designed to break down as quickly as other organic food waste. This means you can pop them straight into your food waste bin for the local authority to collect where they will be broken down under specialist conditions. Some can be put in your home compost however this process may take a little longer.

So let's get into it…

Halo Honduras Nespresso Compatible Capsules

Made from waste sugar cane, Halo claims that these capsules can break down in just 28 days which is as quick as an apple core! Because of this, you should use these pods within three weeks of opening for the freshest-tasting coffee.

Kiss the Hippo Nespresso Compatible Compostable Pods

These are high-standard pods, able to be home composted or put in the council recycling bin. They are made carbon-neutrally from a recyclable card with an oxygen barrier to ensure the organic coffee is fresh when it reaches you. As a bonus, these are certified organic.

Roar Gill Bold Pods

Again with the carbon-neutral routing process and a tree planting scheme to offset emissions from delivery, Roar Gill is a really solid climate-conscious choice.

The pods can be home composted or food waste collection, taking around six to twelve months to fully break down.

Ozone Coffee Nespresso Compatible Compostable Pods

These guys are B Corp Certified, working directly with responsible coffee producers and building relationships that secure a more sustainable future for them, and their communities.  

These coffee pods are 100& plastic-free and can be added to your food waste for composting in commercial facilities. If your local council does not accept them in your food waste they will break down naturally as compost in your usual waste collection.

As a footnote here in North Somerset we are not able to put compostable plastics into our green bins, there’s a bit of tech around this that I can go into further if you’d like to get in touch but this does mean that coffee pods really are tricky items to recycle and with so many being sold, it is a real issue that we need to address.

I for one am sticking with a bean-to-cup coffee machine, I did the math all but pretty badly and worked out I would pay the (second-hand eBay find) coffee machine off after 8 months if I stopped buying 5 takeaway coffees a week, it was an easy win I can still use the beans I used to use at the shop and that first cup of coffee before even leaving the house is just so worth it.

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