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Nespresso wants you to R-E-C-Y-C-L-E |

Food and Leisure

Nespresso wants you to R-E-C-Y-C-L-E

THE X-PAT FILES - Scott R. Garceau - The Philippine Star
Nespresso wants you to R-E-C-Y-C-L-E
Reduce, reuse, recycle: Novateur Coffee Concepts managing director Patrick Pesengco and sustainability advocate Marc Nelson launch Nespresso Philippines recycling initiative at Nespresso Boutique, R1 Wing, Power Plant.
Photos by Ernie Peñaredondo

Nespresso Philippines has one message it wants to shout out loud, Aretha Franklin-style, to local coffee lovers: R-E-C-Y-C-L-E!

Yes, recycling was the big push at a Nespresso event hosted by Amazing Race celebrity/World Wildlife Foundation ambassador/coffee lover Marc Nelson at Power Plant Mall.

Now, the fact is, Nespresso users go through millions of aluminum capsules — those airtight pods that keep Nespresso coffee fresh and perfectly balanced with every cup — every single day worldwide. So wouldn’t it be great if all of those used capsules were returned to recycling centers? After all, the pods themselves are infinitely recyclable, and the used coffee grounds make great soil fertilizer for local farms.

Nelson, along with Novateur Coffee Concepts managing director Patrick Pesengco, which launched Nespresso Philippines two years back, wants people to know there are now many options to recycle your capsules.

Aluminum is infinitely recyclable. So why not recycle 100 percent of it?

• First, there’s the stylish Nespresso Boutique at the R1 Wing of Power Plant which, ever since Day One, has set up a bin for customers to drop off capsules.

• And now, Nespresso Philippines has added new locations to drop off used capsules: at pop-up stores in Podium and Greenbelt, as well as Rustan’s Shangri-La Makati and Rustan’s Alabang Town Center. (Soon to come: SM Home stores and One Bonifacio BGC in July 2019.)

• Meanwhile, home pickup of used capsules is available for orders made online through (The delivery man will even give you a fresh recycling bag to gather the capsules for the next pickup!)

In short, there are now few reasons not to recycle those Nespresso capsules.

The goal, according to Pesengco, is to get enough volume of used aluminum in the Philippines to make it a sustainable operation. The initial collecting goal is one ton; they’re about halfway there, he says.

Shredded aluminum is also upcycled into mosaic-style decorative art by artisans at the Negrense Volunteers for Change Foundation.

So what happens with used capsules? Pesengco explains that currently, capsules are smelted — melted down by a local smelting operator — and turned into aluminum bars, or ingots; those can be sold to make automotive spare parts.

Locally, a lot of the shredded aluminum is also upcycled into mosaic-style decorative art by artisans at the Negrense Volunteers for Change Foundation.

(A booth selling NVC art was set up at the last Art Fair Philippines. “People were snapping them up,” says Nelson.) Meanwhile, the coffee grounds that are separated during recycling are bagged and given to local organic farms — like Nutriganics Farm, Holy Carabao Holistic and Saret Organic Farmville — as supplemental fertilizer for the soil.

But that’s just the start. As we saw in a Nespresso recycling video, those aluminum pods can also be transformed into wheelchairs, bicycle parts, even refashioned into casings for Victorinox Swiss Knives. (Nespresso, a Swiss company, partnered with Victorinox for the project.)
And, yes, ultimately, a lot of the capsules will be recycled into new Nespresso capsules. And who knows? Maybe Nespresso can use some of that aluminum someday to decorate local jeepneys. (#Ecojeepney, perhaps?)

Some used Nespresso capsules even end up being recycled as Victorinox knives.

This all sounds like a great initiative at a time when young Filipinos are beginning to demand a reduction in everyday waste like plastic straws to help save the environment. It really is a matter of “every step counts” when cutting down on daily non-renewable waste, and Nespresso Philippines has just made it that much easier for coffee lovers to do their part.

Nelson himself has a personal connection with Nespresso — two of his relatives work for the company in his native Australia. When Nespresso Philippines opened its boutique in Rockwell and wanted Nelson involved, “the first question I asked is, ‘Okay, are you guys doing recycling? That’s an important issue for me.’ And they said, ‘That’s a part of our deal; if we want to open a store in any country, we have to make sure that recycling steps and facilities are in place.’ So I said, okay, we’re good to go.”

Nelson notes the company has a strong “reduce-reuse-recycle” ethos: “Not just the recycling, but the fair trade. It’s helping farmers in different parts of the world to get fair prices for their coffees and helping them develop their crops and get more out of their existing land,” he says. “From beginning to end, they’re doing everything right.”

Having Marc demonstrate the recycling process — from biodegradable recycling bags to bins — is a smart move. “If you think about the number of coffee capsules sold worldwide, it’s just a matter of getting people to bring them back for recycling. It’s awareness.”

With many new locations to drop off capsules, there are lots of options for Nespresso customers to recycle.

But he’s the first to admit: “You need to make things as convenient as possible, otherwise people won’t do it.”

Currently, Nespresso has some 122,287 recycling centers throughout the world, and 90 percent of its boutiques globally have recycling bins. So there’s very little excuse not to recycle, if you’re a Nespresso customer. Unless you’ve not gotten the message about recycling. Which, if you’ve read the title or opening sentence of this article, you already have! So, happy recycling!

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For more information, visit or call customer service at (02) 477-7870.

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