Coffee capsules have been a true revolution in recent years, and the proof is that we find a multitude of types and shapes on the market, since depending on the coffee machine it may require a specific type of capsule. But usually, they are made of aluminum or plastic with the coffee inside.
Both aluminum and plastic capsules can be recycled, but we must do it correctly and take them to the most appropriate recycling point. In general, the capsules do not detach from the coffee inside, and therefore require a different treatment than empty containers. From Ecoembes (@ecoembes), entity that manages the collection and separation of containers for recycling, clarifies that coffee capsules are not packaging, but are classified by law as food waste and, therefore, their management does not fall within the yellow container processing cycle. In this way, if we throw the capsules in the yellow container, they become a waste that is not recycled.
Where to throw them?
The correct way to proceed is to throw the capsules into the gray container or store them and deposit them in clean places such as the ‘punts verds’ from Barcelona or the ‘clean points’ from Madrid where you can get rid of them.
In addition, various companies are taking care of collecting and recycling the used capsules, so that every time you go to buy new ones, you can take the ones you have accumulated to the store.. This is the case of Nespresso, which recycles used coffee capsules. To do this, they have their own recycling system that is supported by about 1,900 points collection distributed throughout the Spanish geography. The first step in the recycling process is the collection of the used capsules from the different collection points, whether they are the Nespresso Boutiques themselves, Town Halls or municipal bodies and other points of sale of machines committed to the environment, among others. These capsules are transferred to a specific composting plant. Coffee is used to enrich a compost that is used for agricultural purposes, as part of the circular vision of recycling. Whereas aluminum, being an infinitely recyclable material, is subsequently transferred to a different plant, where it is treated in order to be reused again.
Nescafé also makes available to customers of its Dolce Gusto machine a network of more than 1,440 collection points fixed and mobile.
To avoid the waste of materials that involves throwing the used capsules into the gray container, you can avoid consuming the plastic or aluminum ones and opt for those made with compostable materials. More and more brands that sell fully biodegradable capsules that can be deposited in the container for organic waste.