Kerbside coffee capsule recycling pilot to begin in Sydney

Planet Ark Environmental Foundation

Tuesday, 27 July, 2021

Kerbside coffee capsule recycling pilot to begin in Sydney

Sydney’s northern suburbs will be the first to trial a kerbside aluminium coffee capsule recycling pilot, designed by Australian recyclers iQ Renew and CurbCycle in partnership with Mosman Council and Willoughby City Council.

The 5000 Mosman and Willoughby residents participating in the trial will receive a specially designed bright orange bag to collect their used aluminium capsules, which they can then place in their recycling bins for collection.

The trial will provide insights to help inform the development of a national coffee capsule recycling scheme that Planet Ark is taking the lead on.

“It is great to see this trial occurring, and we want to thank all the collaboration partners for making this possible,” said Planet Ark CEO Paul Klymenko.

“By providing their communities with the additional option of kerbside collection, it will allow more people to recycle their coffee capsules and contribute to creating a circular economy.”

Under the ‘Curby’ pilot, the capsules will be separated from other recycling at iQ Renew’s Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) and transferred to the existing Nespresso recycling system in NSW for separating into coffee grounds and aluminium. From here, the aluminium will go to aluminium producers, saving energy.

iQ Renew CEO Danny Gallagher said the trial provides a way to test how capsules can be collected and sorted, as well as assessing household demand for the scheme.

“While aluminium coffee capsules can already be collected for recycling through store drop-off, post and bulk recycling boxes, their small size has been an obstacle to recycling in traditional kerbside recycling systems,” Gallagher said.

“We have looked at kerbside collection systems overseas to see what works, and are optimistic that the Curby system of placing them in a bag will allow them to be separated easily in our facility,” he said.

With funding for the trial provided by Nespresso, General Manager Jean-Marc Dragoli said the company’s experience in developing similar recycling schemes overseas has shown that convenience is king when it comes to the success of recycling.

“We need to make it as easy as possible for people to get their used capsules recycled, and we know kerbside recycling is the easiest path. We hope that this increases the amount of capsules we can collect and process for a better future,”  Dragoli said.

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Image credit: Planet Ark. 

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