How To Recycle Nespresso Pods In 2024 (Easy 4-Step Guide)

Nespresso machines may be convenient, but they generate a lot of waste. These machines produce more waste than any other brewing device, thanks to their disposable pods.

However, not everyone can give up the convenience it offers. On top of that, it's difficult to find another coffee machine that offers as many coffee varieties as Nespresso does.

So what do you do? Enter recycling.

In this article, I’ll show you how to recycle Nespresso pods and discuss other important details you need to know about recycling used capsules.

You don't have to go through complicated steps to recycle your Nespresso coffee pods. The company has created its own recycling program called the Nespresso capsule recycling program.[1]

This recycling solution aims to solve the environmental impacts of the machine through the help of Nespresso users like you.

Follow the steps below to recycle coffee pods and participate in the Nespresso recycling program:

1. Get The Nespresso Recycling Bag

Nespresso has created Nespresso recycling bags which are a must to participate in their recycling program. However, they will only accept those in the dedicated recycling bag. So how do you get one?

There are two ways: online and in-store.

If you order your Nespresso capsules online, you can request a Nespresso recycling bag with your purchase. Simply add a recycling bag to your cart and you're all set.[2]

You can order up to 2 bags with any online order free of charge.

If you buy pods at Nespresso stores, you can ask for recycling bags for free.

However, most big-box retailers don't carry these special bags. Do note that these bags come only in one size.

buying the nespresso recycling bag

2. Fill Your Special Bag With Used Nespresso Capsules

Once you have your recycling bag, fill it up with used pods. One trick I like is placing the bag near my Nespresso machine, as it makes it easy for me to remember to throw the used pods in the bag.

One bag can last a while, holding up to 200 original-sized Nespresso capsules or 100 Vertuo pods. You don't need to empty the pods or pull out the tab; you can use the same bag for them.

However, don't overfill the recycling bag, or it may not be able to fit the contents contained in the recycling centers.

Once filled, you can seal it at the top. These bags come adhesive on the top, similar to what you see in envelopes.

nespresso recycling bag

3. Look For The Nearest Collection Points

After filling up your special recycling bags, it's time to locate the nearest Nespresso boutique.

There are tons of Nespresso boutiques nationwide that are also collection points for used Nespresso pods. Recycling is definitely made easy.

Alternatively, stores like Williams Sonoma and Sur La Table also have collection points if a Nespresso boutique isn’t available.

To find a nearby collection point, simply type in your address on the Nespresso recycling page.[1] This will show you nearby recycling locations everywhere where Nespresso machines and capsules are sold. 

You can also find collection points using the Nespresso app, available on Android and iOS phones.[3][4]

Barista HQ Tip: If you buy your pods at Nespresso retailers, you can bring your bag of empty pods on your next trip. A lot of collection points are near Nespresso retailers.
This will save you time for an extra trip by dropping off your bag.
recycling nespresso pods

4. Drop The Used Pods

Don’t be shocked if the collection point isn’t a recycling facility. Most of the time, the collection points are just public bins usually placed outside a Nespresso store.

However, some bins are separated from the public bins and are placed inside a customer service desk. Be sure to ask someone from the store before leaving the bag in a recycling container.

Then, these bins are collected periodically and taken to a recycling plant for the recycling process.

Nespresso customers don't need to worry about the used capsules once in the collection container.

dropping nespresso pods in bins

Bonus Tip: UPS Locations Accept Nespresso Pods (Here’s How To Do It)

If you think the above steps are easy already, Nespresso has made it even easier.

In the US, UPS has started accepting bags of used pods to make recycling easier for customers who don't have a nearby Nespresso store.

Here's how you can take advantage of these companies' collaboration:

1. Find A Nearby UPS Store

The Nespresso bags come with preprinted UPS labels, which makes dropping off your bags at any UPS store easy.

All you have to do is locate a nearby UPS store through the company’s store locator page.[5]

2. Send Your Used Pods Via Mail

Since the bags come with preprinted labels, all you have to do is drop them off at the nearest UPS, and they will have the package sent to Nespresso's recycling facilities.


Recycling Capsules In Other Countries

Canada: The Nespresso recycling program is similar to the US in Canada. You will also need a dedicated bag to collect all your used capsules.[6]

Once full, you need to drop it off at Nespresso recycling points near you, which is usually a Nespresso store or a partner store.[7]

UK: Nespresso has a recycling solution to reduce waste generated by their capsules in the UK.[8]

All you need is the recycling bag, and once the bag is filled with capsules, you can drop it off at partner stores. You have a few options:

  • Podback drop-off
  • Doorstep pick up via Nespresso
  • Nespresso boutique drop off
  • Podback Kerbside Collection

Reasons You Absolutely Should Recycle Nespresso Pods

In the US alone, about 40% of consumers own a single-cup coffee brewing system--Nespresso or not.[9]

The adoption rate of these coffee machines has been rapidly growing, which equates to the growing number of used pods.

The more Nespresso capsules you use, the more waste you generate. Where do you think these capsules go if you don't dispose of them properly?

If not recycled, these single-used coffee pods will end up in landfill, which has detrimental effects on the environment.[10]

Even though these pods are recyclable, proper waste disposal is necessary to ensure the capsules are recycled.

The Nespresso recycling program will never be successful without the customers' help--without YOUR help. That's the most important reason why you should recycle used Nespresso cups.

Of course, recycling Nespresso cups can be done in different ways too. If you don't want to participate in the company's sustainability program, you can also recycle the pods yourself.

Ground coffee is a known compost that can benefit your garden. Empty capsules can be thrown into the appropriate recycling bin along with the tab.

With your help, single-used coffee pods will not end up filling our landfills. They will be recycled, which can breathe new life into nature.

aluminum nespresso pods

What Are Nespresso Pods Made From?

As mentioned, Nespresso coffee pods are made from recyclable material, specifically aluminum and food-shellac coating.

These materials, especially aluminum, ensure that the coffee grounds in the pods are fresh for months. So, don't worry if you buy more than you need to.

On top of that, aluminum is the easiest material to recycle, and almost none of it goes to waste when recycling it. This material is also used in a wide variety of items, not just Nespresso capsules.

Creating aluminum pods was a bold move for the company, especially for environmental reasons, since aluminum can be recycled forever.

In fact, 75% of aluminum ever produced is still being used in the world today. It also emits fewer greenhouse gasses because it's not a virgin material.[11]

This means that a used pod of Nespresso doesn’t produce as much waste as many thought it would. The regular recycling of the pods plays a huge role in that.


What Does Nespresso Do With The Recycled Pods?

If you’re curious about what happens with your used pods, here’s a quick rundown of the recycling process:

  • Used pods are collected via UPS, Nespresso stores, or other partner stores in your area.
  • Once they arrive at the facility, the capsules are removed from the bags. The bags are also recycled.
  • Next, a machine will separate the capsules' contents. The coffee grounds are removed from the pods and will be used to create compost.
  • After the aluminum has been collected, it will be transported to another facility where it’s baled.
  • These bales will be used to create new products such as car engines, pens, vegetable peelers, and new pods.[12]
recycling Nespresso capsules

Can You Reuse Nespresso Pods?

Good news! Nespresso pods can be reused in different ways, including refilling them with coffee for your caffeine fix. Here’s how:

  • Remove the capsule lid with scissors and set aside for recycling (or throw it in the appropriate bin).
  • Remove the ground coffee from the pod and use it as compost or a deterrent to pests.
  • Wash the capsule.
  • Create a replacement lid using aluminum foil. Make sure it goes over the edge of the pod.
  • Fill the empty capsule with ground coffee until about a millimeter of space is left.
  • Tamp down the ground with a coffee scoop or spoon to compress them into the pod.
  • Seal the pod using aluminum foil. Ensure that the aluminum foil is wrapped around the brim so it won’t be easily removed from the capsule.
  • Lastly, use the pod as you normally do in your Nespresso machine.

Common Recycling Nespresso Pod Questions

Can you put Nespresso pods in the recycling bin?

Yes, you can put Nespresso pods in your regular recycling bin.

Do you wash Nespresso pods before recycling?

No, you don’t need to wash the Nespresso pods before recycling. You only need to wash it when you plan on reusing it.

How do you recycle Keurig and other coffee pods?

Unlike Nespresso, there is no K-Cup recycling program. If you want to recycle K-cups and other coffee pods, it's best to separate everything before throwing it away. For example, the lids should be peeled back, coffee grounds are dumped (for compost), and pods are thrown in the appropriate bin.

Where can I recycle Nespresso pods in NYC?

New Yorkers can recycle Nespresso pods in the same recycling bin they use for plastic, glass, and other materials.[13]


Conclusion

Although you can recycle Nespresso pods through the normal recycle bin, it's best to participate in the company's recycling program instead.

This ensures that the pods are recycled properly, minimizing the waste they generate.

In the future, if you're thinking of switching to a more environmentally-friendly brewing device, a French press can also provide you with the perfect cup with little waste.

References:

1. https://www.nespresso.com/us/en/how-to-recycle-coffee-capsules
2. https://www.nespresso.com/us/en/order/accessories/original/recycling-bag
3. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.nespresso.activities&hl=en&gl=US&pli=1
4. https://apps.apple.com/us/app/nespresso/id342879434
5. https://www.theupsstore.com/tools/find-a-store
6. https://www.nespresso.com/ca/en/irecycle
7. https://www.nespresso.com/ca/en/StoreLocator#map-intro
8. https://www.nespresso.com/uk/en/sustainability/recycling
9. https://www.statista.com/statistics/316217/us-ownership-of-single-cup-brewing-systems/
10. https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2019/03/13/heres-why-your-used-k-cups-coffee-pods-arent-usually-recycled/3067283002/
11. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aluminium_recycling
12. https://newinzurich.com/2020/01/nespresso-second-life-recycling-to-create-amazing-products/
13 .https://nestle-nespresso.com/news/Nespresso-New-York-recycling

Kim Fernandez

Author

Kim Fernandez
Kim offers a unique perspective on coffee culture and trends. Kim's writing is personal and experiential, providing readers with firsthand advice on the latest in coffee. Beyond her writing, Kim is an avid explorer of new coffee trends and spots, always seeking to share the most genuine advice and latest trends. True to her love for coffee, you'll often find her in a café, immersed in a book with a freshly brewed cup of joe.

My favorite drink? I'd go with... A freshly brewed cup of joe

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