How To Recycle Nespresso Pods? [Easy Steps To Follow]

Published: 09/28/22 •  11 min read

Making authentic espresso with single-serve Nespresso pods is convenient and quick. It is one of the most popular ways of brewing coffee globally. According to the National Coffee Association, 62% of the population indulges in coffee at least once daily. However, we are unaware of the extensive impact of using coffee pods on the environment.

Is every coffee drinker aware of recycling pods? Can you imagine how hazardous it is to dump aluminum or plastic pods in the waste? We bet not.

With the convenience and ease of use of Nespresso machines, many coffee drinkers make coffee at home. Drinking copious amounts of coffee generates inevitable waste. If you are one of them and you care about your environment, you will always be guilty of throwing a coffee capsule in the trash.

When you use a coffee pod for making coffee, you can not discard it in regular recycling. Because coffee pods are small and their material is unique, which does not qualify for the usual recycling practice. When you don’t recycle coffee pods, they end up in a landfill. The landfill is an environmental hazard, contributing to global warming.

After facing backlash over environmental harm, Nespresso initiated its recycling program. The Nespresso capsule recycling program ensures proper disposal of coffee pods. Recycling turns materials like aluminum and plastic from coffee pods into things like commercial compost, fertilizers, or topsoil.

Recycling pods doesn’t require a lot of effort or time. To be a responsible Nespresso user, try to recycle pods according to their instructions. Read on to learn more about it.

Key Takeaways
  • On a per-cup basis, pod-based coffee machines produce far more waste than conventional drip coffee makers, which results in far more problems than simply paper and grounds.
  • Nespresso makes its coffee pods in Switzerland. The whole process of manufacturing pods takes place in one of its factories.
  • Nespresso has its recycling facility to minimize the hazardous effects on the environment.
  • Nespresso uses aluminum as its primary material for the manufacturing of coffee pods. The pods are recyclable and reusable.
  • You can recycle Nespresso pods through several methods. Dispatch them to a UPS store or a boutique, or reuse them.

What are Nespresso Pods made of ?

There are two lines of coffee capsules; original, which offers traditional-size espresso servings, and Vertuo, which can produce large drinks. The Nespresso pods are aluminum containers coated with food-grade shellac and filled with ground coffee beans and flavorings, depending on the blend.

The pods have two parts; an aluminum container with an aluminum lid. The seal and materials of coffee pods keep them safe from oxygen and moisture, keeping the coffee grounds fresh. The pods retain the flavor and aroma till you brew them. Nespresso recommends using its coffee pods within four months of purchase to enjoy the perfect flavors of the coffee.

The Nespresso coffee pods come from their factory in Switzerland, where they roast, ground, and pack coffee beans into pods. Each pod contains 5 to 7 grams of ground coffee to make the perfect cup of coffee. The pods then get a coat of colored food-grade lacquer. The lacquer protects the pods from leakage and moisture but also helps to identify different pods according to their flavors and intensities.

Why are Nespresso Capsules easy to Recycle?

Aluminum is infinitely recyclable. Aluminum maintains its original properties through recycling and recasting. There are no other materials that offer such functional and environmental benefits.

Almost 75% of the aluminum produced is still in use today. It is due to its durability and infinite processability. As a result, it remains Nespresso’s first choice for its high-quality coffee pods.

Nespresso is the first company to use ASI-certified sourced aluminum. Every aluminum Nespresso pod has the potential of being recycled into a whole new pod or a different product. The recycled aluminum contributes to the manufacturing of Nespresso pods when feasible.

The Wall Street Journal writes about the efforts of Nespresso for sustainability by partnering and the challenges it faces as a coffee brand. Nespresso tries to work with companies like UPS that share their ideology about recycling and sustainability. It encourages other coffee companies, governments, waste companies, and individuals to increase recycling rates.

 A step-by-step guide to Recycle Nespresso Pods

There are several ways of recycling Nespresso pods. You can find the one convenient for you. The Nespresso recycling program has several locations and collection points, so look for the one nearest. If none of these options are near you, you can contact the nearest UPS store to ensure they collect recycling pods. All you have to do is put the pods in a recycling bag and drop it off. The rest is up to Nespresso.

We have come up with all the possible options available to recycle Nespresso pods:

Dropping off Nespresso Pods at a UPS Store or Boutique

If there is no Nespresso recycling facility near you, check for the nearest UPS store. The UPS store can send your pods for recycling to the Nespresso plant on your behalf.

1. Call the UPS Store

Call ahead to ask if the UPS near you accepts Nespresso recycling pods because they might or might not be working with the recycling program.

the UPS store
image credit: theupsstore

They require specific recycling bags and a proper process to accept recyclable pods.

2. Take your Nespresso Pods to the UPS store

Once the UPS store confirms that it accepts recycling pods, take your pods to them. Make sure that you collect them in a container specified by the store. You can not use any random bag or container to put the recycling pods.

3. Handover the pods to the employee

Hand over your pods to the employee at the store. They will inspect the pods and let you know if they can send them to Nespresso for recycling. This whole process is free of charge and requires no fee.

Take your Pods to a Collection Point

1. Get a Nespresso Recycling Bag

We recommend you have a recycling bag at home all the time. Whenever you order Nespresso Pods, add their recycling bags to the cart. The bags are free, so you do not have to worry about its expense. Whether you order pods online or get them from a boutique, you can get recycling bags for free.

Nespresso recycling bag

2. Locate a Collection Point near you

Locate a collection point nearby through the Nespresso website. Once you enter your address on the website, It will show you a map of all the collection points near your place. You can choose a location according to your convenience and look for its directions.

Some collection points can be near the Nespresso retailers, so it will be easy to drop off recycling pods when purchasing new ones. You can locate a collection point through Nespresso iOs or Google Play App.  

3. Seal the bag of used pods

Make sure you have access to a recycling bag when making coffee so you can discard the pods directly into the bag. A Nespresso recycling bag has only one size, and it can contain around 100 Vertuo pods or 200 original pods. Once you fill the bag, seal the bag properly.

4. Drop off the pods at the customer service desk

The last step is to drop the recycling bag at the collection point. Some collection pods have bins to directly throw the bags in, while some have clerks sitting behind desks to check the contents of the bags before accepting them.

Return recycling pods with the delivery guy 

1. Order a recycling bag

You can get a free recycling bag with your Nespresso order. When you order coffee pods, ask them for a free recycling bag. Similarly, if you get Nespresso pods from a store, you can get free recycling bags every time.

2. Place another order 

Order new Nespresso pods and recycling bags when you run low on them. You can order more Nespresso pods for restocking and a free recycling bag to keep up with the recycling process.

3. Return the pods with the delivery boy

When you order Nespresso pods, tell the delivery driver to take the recycling bag with him. For recycling, return the recycling pods to the delivery driver when you order new Nespresso coffee pods.

Reuse your Nespresso Pods

1. Clean the Pod

You can reuse the coffee pod 2 to 3 times but clean it properly. Remove the aluminum lid and cleanse the coffee pod with cold water. Now put it in the sink and tap it gently to remove all coffee grounds. Put it aside to let it dry, and do not use any towel or cloth to clean it.

Nespresso pod cleaning

2. Make an aluminum lid for the Coffee Pod

You removed the original lid of the pod for cleaning, so cut out a new one. Place an aluminum piece on the pod to measure the size of the cover and cut it accordingly. Leave a few inches from all sides of the lid to secure the pods properly. Cut the extra edges off and make a circular shape of the pod lid.

3. Fill the pod with coffee grounds

You can now fill the pod with the coffee grounds of your choice. Use a spoon or spatula to pour coffee into it, and leave around 1 millimeter of space on the top of the pod. If the pod has too much space on the top, the aluminum will get pushed, creating a mess with coffee grounds. Gently press the coffee ground with your thumb or a spoon.

4. Seal the pods with the aluminum lid 

Put the aluminum lid on the opening of the pod. Press it gently for it to cling to the pod, and wrap the edges of the aluminum properly around the pod by pressing it under it with your fingers.

5. Reuse Nespresso pods

Your pod is now ready for use. Firstly insert it into your Nespresso machine and then brew it as you usually brew a pod. If the pod leaks during brewing, clean the coffee machine with a damp cloth to remove any coffee grounds.

Recycling Nespresso Original and Vertuo Pods

Nespresso has two lines for its coffee capsules: the VertuoLine and OriginalLine. Both pods are different in size and flavor, and the Nespresso coffee machines work differently for these pods.

Nespresso original Line vs vertuo line

The VertuoLine machines use barcode scanning techniques to read pods for extraction. On the other hand, The original machines use 19-bar pressure to brew coffee pods. Vertuo and Original pods prepare equally good quality coffee, but you can not use them interchangeably.

Nespresso has a recycling facility that recycles both of its product lines. It requires a Nespresso recycling bag to collect the pods and drop them off at the recycling point. A recycling bag can contain 200 Original pods and 100 Vertuo pods. You can fill the bag according to the pods you use and then send it for recycling.

Final Thoughts 

Companies can no longer ignore sustainability in their business practices. As the world changes, the future is more uncertain than ever. The Nespresso recycling program is an excellent example of how we can leverage our technology in our favor without shooting ourselves in the foot.

As Nespresso customers, you and I can contribute to ensuring the health and longevity of both; the coffee industry and the environment with some effort. When recycling, a little bit goes a long way, and Nespresso makes it so that we only have to do a little bit. Visit Nespresso to learn more about the Nespresso recycling program.


Can I recycle Nespresso Pods at home?

You can order a free recycling bag at home, collect the pods, and send them to a collection point. There is no other way to recycle pods at home.

What happens when I recycle my coffee pods?

To separate the coffee grounds from the aluminum, the pods are shredded. The remaining coffee grounds make compost. Afterwards, the aluminum is melted down and recycled into car spare parts, drink cans, and bicycles.

Hans Mast

Hans loves coffee and loves teaching about coffee