Convenience vs waste: The environmental cost of your coffee pods

The cost of convenience  

The attraction of coffee capsules is the simplicity and consistency of taste. And it certainly costs less than an espresso from a cafe, which sets you back about $3.50, whereas the cost of a capsule can vary from 37c for Aldi Expressi to 68c for Nespresso. 

However, did you know that you’ll pay a lot less per kilogram for your coffee if you make it at home on a manual coffee machine? Piazza D’Oro coffee beans are $34.63/kg, and its ground coffee is $49.10/kg - but its coffee capsules work out at $118.27/kg from Coles Online in Sydney.

Single-use / disposable coffee pods are expensive when you look at price-per-kilo

The environmental cost

When it comes to the packaging of coffee capsules, the boxes they come in are recyclable – no surprises there, since they’re made of paper. 

The capsules, however, leave a much bigger environmental footprint. For a start, aluminium is an energy-hungry product, requiring nine times more energy to manufacture than steel. In Australia, Nespresso capsules have to be taken to one of the 11 boutiques for recycling. But how many are actually being recycled? 

In 2012 Nespresso said it reached its “75% recycling capacity commitment”. But while it may have the ability to recycle 75% of the capsules, it has not yet revealed if that many capsules have been recycled. Nespresso has sold an estimated 28 billion capsules worldwide – that’s about 28 million kilograms of aluminium, with the majority probably sitting in landfill. 

A better solution to recycling coffee capsules: How to brew more sustainably

However, Nespresso and other brands of capsules – which are mostly plastic rather than aluminium – generally can’t be thrown into domestic recycling bins. They’re too small for the machines at recycling plants to separate from other rubbish and simply drop through sieves into general waste. 

Those capsule that do reach the recycling process have to be shredded, the coffee washed away with tonnes of water, the varnish burnt and the aluminium re-smelted. This process requires a lot of transportation and energy

We're passionate about helping you get more from your daily cuppa

Our range of environmentally friendly capsules are designed to be reused, giving you the freedom to brew freshly ground coffee beans with your coffee pod machine.

We're here to help you reduce your waste, and your costs! Join the sustainable coffee pod movement today.

Which reusable pod is right for you? Find out here!



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