Over the past two decades, Nespresso coffee machines have gone from relative obscurity to household obsession. And while the coffee has been great for family kitchens, the by-product of a used capsule has not been as good for our environment. So Nestlé, the parent company that makes the machines, has taken the extra step of recycling aluminum materials from its single-use Nespresso pods to create limited-edition knives and pens. Now, in partnership with Swedish cycling start-up Vélosophy, it is using aluminum garnered from used pods to create a limited run of RE:CYCLE aluminum bicycles.
“RE:CYCLE has an iconic design, grounded in sustainability, that brings to life the potential of recycling our aluminum coffee capsules,” says Justin DeGeorge, vice president of marketing at Nespresso. “Our unique collaboration pays tribute to the beauty of aluminum, which can be recycled again and again, and demonstrates the potential of the circular economy.” According to recent statistics, one in three Americans owns a single-use coffee maker, and this does not even take into account the machines used in businesses or offices. Though these devices are convenient, they also produce a significant amount of waste. The industry is working to reduce this, with vows to enhance recyclability, especially of the various plastics and other components in the K-Cups from industry leader Keurig. But sustainability has long been a focus for Nestlé, which manufactures its Nespresso capsules from aluminum in part because they provide superior storage for the coffee, and in part because they’re more readily recyclable.
The brand’s recycling program started in 1991 and now exists in 53 countries worldwide. Here in the States, the consumer can clean the capsules and deposit them at some local recycling centers. But Nestlé also provides prepaid recycling mailers that can be dropped at 88,000 UPS locations in the U.S., or at any of 500 Nespresso shops and other retail partners. Once received, the coffee is cleaned out of the capsules and used for compost, and the aluminum is reused. The newly minted RE:CYCLE aluminum bicycles initiative, however, is proof that Nestlé is open to aligning with start-up companies for innovative ways of reusing the metal from single-use capsules.
Architectural Digest is an American monthly magazine founded in 1920. Its principal subject is interior design, rather than architecture more generally. The magazine is published by Condé Nast, which also publishes international editions of Architectural Digest in China, France, Germany, Russia, Spain, Mexico, and Latin America.