Nearly five years after kicking off The Positive Cup project in Italy – Nespresso‘s sustainable strategy which sets ambitious objectives in terms of coffee sourcing, social welfare, use and recycling of aluminium, and resistance to climate change – the country has registered positive results with regard to the collection and recycling of used capsules.

In the first years of Positive Cup operations in Italy (November 2011 – September 2017) more than 2,000 tons of used capsules were donated to citizens and recycled.

In the first months of 2017, harvesting grew by 7%, reaching 30 September with 337 tonnes of aluminum capsules given by citizens at the collection points.

This has allowed huge savings in terms of material and energy, considering that recycling aluminium saves 95% of the energy required to produce it from raw materials. Moreover, transforming the capsules’ residual coffee into compost has enabled the production of 268 tons of rice, donated by Nespresso to Fondazione Banco Alimentare Onlus.

riciclo nespresso capsule

Through an agreement signed between Nespresso, CIAL, Federambiente and CIC (the Italian Composting Consortium), the project, which first kicked off in Italy in 2011 and was then relaunched in 2014, provides for the collection and processing of the capsules left by citizens in 51 Nespresso boutiques and 47 recycling centres throughout Italy. The aluminium is separated from the residual coffee, and the two materials are then exploited separately.

  • The aluminium is fully recycled with the collaboration and support of CIAL, the Italian Consortium for the Recovery and Recycling of Aluminium Packaging. In this way, it is given a new lease of life as every day objects, from Moka pots to car parts.
  • The coffee, instead, is composted and used as fertilizer on a paddy field identified in collaboration with the Pavia Union of Farmers. The rice grown is bought by Nespresso and subsequently donated to Banco Alimentare, which in turn – with the help of affiliated charities and several soup kitchens – distributes it to people in need throughout Italy.

This important environmental protection project, on the one hand ensures the recovery of valuable resources otherwise destined for landfilling, and on the other, supports Banco Alimentare through an innovative circular economy approach.

“The project for the recovery and recycling of Nespresso capsules is continuing to grow in Italy, and we are very pleased to have contributed to this success. This programme expands the awareness of citizens on the importance of separate collection and the recycling of aluminium. This avoids waste and helps to protect the environment,” added Gino Schiona, General Manager of CIAL.

Currently, there are 98 collection points (51 boutiques and 47 recycling centres) distributed across 52 Italian cities, including major centres such as Turin, Genoa, Milan, Verona, Bologna, Florence, Rome, Naples, Bari and Catania.

To meet its customers’ needs, Nespresso has developed a handy search engine that locates where you can hand in your used capsules by geographical area.  Here is the link:


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