Refillable coffee pods for Nespresso: Reusable steel lids vs recyclable lids

We're living in a time where more and more eco-friendly brewing options are emerging - consumers are becoming so much more environmentally conscious, and are seeking out alternatives to reduce their coffee machine waste! So it's not surprising that it can be a little overwhelming when switching from disposable, single-use pods to reusables, especially when there are so many 'green' options to choose from.

A great place to start when trying to decide on a sustainable solution to your Nespresso capsule machine waste is to ask the following question: "Will a pod with a reusable stainless steel lid, or a recyclable aluminium lid be best for me?"

So to help get you well on your way to brewing a guilt-free cuppa, we've put together this handy comparison guide! Here are our top three considerations when choosing the best reusable coffee pod for your needs: 

1. Pressure buildup 

Since launching in 2014, we've tested, trialled and experimented with a plethora of reusable capsule material options and combinations! As part of our research, the criteria included that the product must:
• Be as sustainable as possible (either closing-the-loop or fully recyclable)
• Be production compliant and
• Meet all food safety standards and regulations

During our explorations and research, we discovered that the simple act of piercing the capsule lid creates a pressure build-up, which results in a richer brew and crema. Pressure buildup is essential in the making of a delicious coffee - when pressure accumulates in your coffee pod, it pushes the water through the ground coffee at a consistent rate, consequently producing a beautiful espresso.

Due to the infinitely reusable design of stainless steel lids, there's only a certain degree of pressure buildup that can occur within the pod. Whilst capsules with reusable lids are certainly still capable of extracting a decent brew, their design simply means it's more difficult to achieve optimal pressure-generating capacity.

It's easier to produce a stronger coffee from a capsule with a lid that is punctured - they better replicate the function of the native disposable coffee pods, so they are certainly a great place to start when initially making the switch from single-use to sustainable brewing.

In short? If extracting a strong, rich espresso is high on your list of priorities, you're going to want to invest in a system where optimal internal pod pressure is achieved - capsules with pierceable lids

2. Sustainability 

Whilst we do stock some capsules with stainless steel reusable lids, we have also opted to use fully recyclable Aluminium lids for brewing coffee with a range of our product lines. When our customers switch to reusable, ideally we want them to continue reusing for the lifetime of their pod machine, which is why we have chosen to offer a range of sustainable solutions.

And whether you do decide to go for a capsule with a reusable or recyclable lid, in both cases you're going to be significantly decreasing your kitchen waste - both are much gentler on our earth than disposable coffee pods!

If you're looking to be particularly intentional in diverting waste from landfill, our WayCap reusable capsules are an excellent zero waste option. Unlike other 100% steel capsules, the WayCap design utilises interchangeable steel filters that lock into the lid - these are extremely handy whilst you're finessing your method and trialling various coffee blends. These filters are designed to accommodate a wider range of grind sizes, giving you the versatility to enjoy an excellent, creamy espresso with whichever coffee you choose to brew. 

When it comes pods with foil lids, it's important to note that all of these are recyclable. If your local recycling facility is unable to sort very small items, simply collect them in an aluminium can, squeeze it shut when full, and place in your home recycling bin.  

3. Convenience

It's well worth considering how much time and effort you want to put in when it comes to your sustainable brewing.

Whilst incredibly kind to the environment, steel-topped capsules do take a little more time and experimentation when it comes to refining your brew, and usually require two capsules be brewed to achieve a strong cup. As previously mentioned, completely reusable steel pods may not be the product for you if convenience or brew strength are your top priorities. Essentially, these types of capsules are ideal for the eco-warrior with a willingness to tinker away at their brew until they get a feel for what works.

For a 'lower maintenance' eco coffee capsule that will perform similarly to a throwaway pod, we recommend investing in a reusable system that allows for lid puncturing, such as SealPod or Bluecup.

In conclusion

Keen to go all out, got a little patience up your sleeve, and you're dead-set on a zero waste solution? Steel-topped WayCap capsules are for you.

Or if you're wanting to reduce your impact but retain a high-quality brew without the effort, SealPod or Bluecup are both ideal eco-friendly options.

So what are you waiting for? Considering your personal needs prior to purchasing will certainly make the switch far more seamless, and your eco journey far more enjoyable - happy brewing!


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