In the late 1980s, the cup of coffee was revolutionized with the advent of Switzerland’s Nespresso single- and double-shot espresso pods. Filled with just enough ground beans for an individual cup, these capsules and their matching machines soon began popping up in offices and homes around the world. In the years since, enthusiasts have come to enjoy the ritual of plunking a capsule into a Nespresso appliance, watching as the crema forms a layer of creamy goodness on top of the fresh coffee, and smelling the rich aroma that fills the room.
But the elephant in said room is undeniably the negative impact that these single-use pods have on the environment. Despite the fact that Nespresso capsules are made with 100 per cent recyclable aluminum (not plastic, as is widely assumed), only 56 per cent of the supply is currently recycled worldwide. Whether this is because people aren’t aware that the pods are recyclable, or they simply don’t know how to properly dispose of them, Nespresso has set out to do something about it.
In order to create a better experience for the consumer here in Vancouver (and with the goal of becoming a 100 per cent sustainable coffee provider by 2020), the company has rolled out the Green Bag pilot project, allowing local java-lovers to enjoy a daily cup without compromising the environment.
In conjunction with Recycle BC and the City of Vancouver, the initiative allows Nespresso capsules to be placed into complimentary recyclable pouches, which can be found at all of the brand’s Lower Mainland storefronts and are also sent with local online orders. Vancouverites are instructed to put the bag of pods into a curbside Recycle BC Blue Box, which is picked up weekly; the green bag is then transferred to a special recycling facility elsewhere in Canada, where unused coffee beans are extracted and sent off to be composted, while the aluminum is sold on the market and made into other products. In addition, pods can be taken back to Nespresso boutiques—including the brand’s swanky new Burnaby store inside Metropolis at Metrotown—and dropped in designated recycling bins, the contents of which are emptied and whisked away to the same processing plant.
Vancouver isn’t the first Canadian city to see a Nespresso recycling project, with a similar Red Bag program rolling out other Canadian provinces (except Quebec) in Spring 2018, and previously in the United Kingdom and United States as well; the brand hopes to roll out the Green Bag project into the rest of British Columbia in the next year. Nespresso’s Positive Cup scheme also oversees sustainable and eco-friendly harvesting methods with roughly 75,000 coffee farms around the world.
Enjoying a fresh espresso, while contributing to less waste in the landfill, has never tasted so good—while remaining so simple.