Nespresso recyclingAs I get older, I’m not only considering the provenance of what I consume more closely but also trying to better understand what happens to things after I’ve finished using them. You guys know that my heart mate and I have been drinking Nespresso for the past eight or nine years. Their coffee is a huge part of our daily routine, and we’ve been recycling Nespresso capsules from the day we started drinking their coffee. We’ve taken inspiration from their coffee capsules for our beach house kitchen remodel and even visited Colombia with them to meet some of the coffee farmers they work with, and learn about the Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program.

Although I have always recycled my Nespresso capsules, in all honesty, I never knew what actually happened to the capsules once they were recycled. Back in August, I visited Lausanne, Switzerland, the home of Nespresso, to learn about how the company recycles their capsules and gain a wider understanding of their sustainability efforts. While there, I was also able to work on an exciting project of creating the first IGTV episode for Nespresso’s social media channels. Today, I’m excited to share seven of the most interesting facts I learned about their recycling program, and the fascinating second lives the capsules go on to have. Let’s get to it!Nespresso recycling1. The capsules are fully recyclable.

Yes, it’s true! I always knew that some of the capsule could be recycled, but until I visited Switzerland and one of the company’s recycling partners, AgChoice, I didn’t realize that the capsule is fully recyclable. When you think about it, it’s amazing that each part of every Nespresso capsule has a chance at a second life, right?! This, and the fact that aluminum preserves the freshness and quality of the coffee, is the reason that the brand decided to use aluminum to make the capsules. Additionally, unlike many other materials, aluminum can be recycled again and again. And a fun fact for you, friends: an estimated 75% of the aluminum that has ever been produced is still in use today.Nespresso recyclingNespresso capsules that are recycled in the United States arrive at one of the brand’s recycling partners, such as Ag Choice (pictured above) in New Jersey. There, the capsules are removed from their plastic recycling bags (which are then bundled and recycled, too) before each element of the recycled capsules begins the start of its second life. Keep reading to discover some of the things the capsules go on to become…!Nespresso recycling2. Aluminum has multiple sustainability and quality benefits.

When it comes to their sustainability efforts, Nespresso believes that Small Steps Make a Big Difference when it comes to their sustainable efforts which is why the seemingly small choice to use aluminum to make their capsules was actually a big decision, and a step toward creating a more sustainable process. At the brand’s capsule production facility in Avenches, Switzerland, I learned how Nespresso sought to find and use the best material to not only protect the freshness and quality of their coffee but also match their commitment to sustainability. They found that in the power of aluminum. As a long-time customer of the brand, and now a partner, I was so pleased to see how much the company and their employees cared about both practicing business sustainability and maintaining the coffee’s high quality.Nespresso recycling3. The coffee grounds of recycled used capsules become nutrient-rich compost.

Once separated from the aluminum, some of the used coffee grounds coffee grounds are turned into nutrient-rich compost, which local farms and vineyards can use to accelerate the growth of crops and vines. Other coffee grounds are transformed into biogas. Above left, you can see used coffee grounds maturing into nutrient-rich compost at Ag Choice in New Jersey. The right picture, shows vineyards in Switzerland which use compost, made from used coffee grounds that comes from a similar local recycling partner.Nespresso recyclingDuring my trip to Switzerland, I was able to visit some of the vineyards that use nutrient-rich compost made from the coffee grounds of recycled Nespresso capsules, such as the Blaise Duboux Vineyard (pictured above).Nespresso recycling4. It’s really quick and easy to recycle your used Nespresso capsules.

Recycling bags are available for free with every purchase of Nespresso capsules, and across 48 states, you can drop off the bags of used capsules at one of 88,000 UPS locations or of one 500 collection points that are in Nespresso Boutiques and select retail partners. I keep my recycling bag under the sink and once it’s filled with used capsules, I just leave it down with my doorman for UPS pick up – simple!Nespresso recycling5. Nespresso capsules go on to become many amazing things, like Caran d’Ache pens.

Nespresso and the classic Swiss stationer Caran d’Ache partnered to create a pen from recycled coffee capsules, like the ones seen above. The powerful aluminum Nespresso uses to make their capsules can be transformed into other items as well, like Victorinox knives and even new capsules. I learned that producing aluminum from already used aluminum saves energy by 95%, which adds an additional element to support sustainable practices.Nespresso recycling6. Nespresso USA supports communities by partnering with local recycling facilities.

In the US, once capsules are collected, they are sent to Nespresso partners like Ag Choice in New Jersey (seen above) where the aluminum is separated from coffee grounds. By partnering with small businesses, such as Ag Choice, the brand helps to provide jobs to local communities.Nespresso recycling7. New Nespresso Boutiques feature sustainably sourced materials.

During my trip to Switzerland, I visited Geneva’s flagship Nespresso Boutique, which, like so many of the new Nespresso Boutiques, includes sustainably designed materials. These include: tabletops made of used coffee grounds from Nespresso’s factory in Switzerland, wood that has been sourced from Nespresso reforestation programs on coffee farms, and technological solutions to reduce energy usage. In the US, you can see similar features at their Madison Boutique in NYC.Nespresso recyclingThat’s a wrap on my latest adventure with Nespresso. I hope you found everything I learned about their recycling processes to be as interesting and enlightening as I did? OK, we earned a break, it’s coffee o’clock…!


Will Taylor

Will lives in NYC and is an interior design author and content creator. He's been blogging about his love of design, style and travel since 2009. His #MakeYouSmileStyle approach to decorating and dressing has inspired over one million Instagram uploads to the hashtag from followers across the world.


  1. I honestly had no idea that Nespresso pods could be recycled. I feel bad as I’ve always talked them down as I thought it was awful they would create a product like that. This has been very enlightening and I’m disappointed I hadn’t looked into it more before reading this. Thank you Will.

    • @Katia – This is music to my ears! Even before I partnered with them I’ve always been such a champion of their product and their approach to coffee, so I’m thrilled to read this. Yay!

  2. Will! I wanted to visit Switzerland before I came to this post now I can’t think of anything else lmao!!! Looked amazing. Take me next time ;))

  3. My grandmother always used old coffee grounds for her plants. Great to see a brand taking responsible steps such as this. Really interesting post!

    Love following you on Instagram. Have fun in Norway.


  4. Loved reading this Will! My sister lives on the UES and we sometimes go to get coffee from their Madison Ave store together. I’m sending her this to make sure she recycles cuz I’m an annoying older sister! Hahaha.

  5. Hi Will,

    I watched your IGTV episode on this last week and had to show my husband as he never believed me when I said about recycling the pods. Consider him proven wrong. 😉 Anyway I love following you because you are one of the few influencers who creates content like this that is deeper than just shoes, bags etc. It’s inspirinf. Well done!


    • @Mike – Right, it’s so good that they do this! I know that the recycle in America and Europe but if you are elsewhere in the world I’d call your local boutique to check! 🙂

  6. Leanne Liakos Reply

    This was very interesting, the only reason we haven’t purchased a Nespresso machine is because of the pods. I’d feel better about buying one now:)

    • @Leanne – I’m so glad you came over to read the post and that it’s changed your mind on buying a machine. Yay! I love Nespresso! 🙂

  7. OMG! I was so ignorant!
    I did not know that the capsules can be recycled.
    Thank you for this article!

  8. I bought the Nespresso after learning the pods could be recycled- no more K cups in the trash for me! It’s so easy to do – just order the free recycling bag from their app when you order the coffee. Great post on a fantastic company- thank you!

  9. Will, I also recycle Nepresso pods, but lately I also buy pods by other brands, like Pete’s Coffee. Do you know if I can mix these in with the Nespresso pods in the recycle bag?

  10. Patricia Bohlier Reply

    Where can I drop off my empty coffee pods?
    I live in Redondo beach, California.

    Thank you

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Hey, I'm Will

Welcome to Bright.Bazaar, my make-you-smile style corner of the internet. I’ve been sharing my love of beautiful design, feel-good homes, everyday style, inspiring travel and, pretty much everything in between, since 2009. As well as working as a content creator, I write interior design books and edit a bi-weekly e-newsletter called Smile Mail. I live in New York City with my heartmate and can often be found listening to Madonna’s Confessions album and dreaming up my next home renovation project.