Sustainability alert: Nespresso expands recycling progam, Aldi makes plastic packaging goals

Sustainability alert: Nespresso expands recycling progam, Aldi makes plastic packaging goals

A roundup of some of the latest sustainability-related news.

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April 10, 2019

Nespresso expands aluminum coffee capsule recycling program

For the first time, Nespresso, headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland, is opening its global recycling program for aluminum coffee capsules to other companies.

By inviting other portioned coffee manufacturers to join its scheme, Nespresso says it hopes to improve the accessibility and convenience of aluminum capsule recycling. Companies joining the Nespresso recycling program will also take part in defining the funding and governance model and encourage more widespread use of the service, the company says.

“Aluminum is a valuable material and is infinitely recyclable,” Nespresso CEO Jean-Marc Duvoisin says. “We have built a global scheme for recycling our capsules and by inviting other companies to join our system, we hope to offer a solution for the whole category. This decision is aligned with our global initiatives to shape a ‘waste-free’ future and drive behavior change towards a circular economy.”

In most countries, the public recycling infrastructure is unable to process small light items, such as coffee capsules. Nearly three decades ago, Nespresso started the recycling program, which is the most “advanced in the industry” today, covering 53 countries with more than 100,000 drop-off points. The program was previously offered exclusively to Nespresso customers.

Daniel Katz, chairman of the Rainforest Alliance, states, “Nespresso has worked with the Rainforest Alliance for 16 years on sustainably sourced coffee and it is inspiring to see the company take ownership of aluminum recycling, helping lead the way and engage competitors and driving towards a potential global solution to coffee capsule recycling.”

The aluminum from recycled Nespresso capsules has various uses, including car engines, computers and new coffee capsules. The coffee grounds are used to produce biogas and natural fertilizer, the company says.

Aldi commits to plastic packaging goals

Aldi has committed to using 100 percent reusable, recyclable or compostable plastic packaging by 2025. The company will also reduce packaging material across its stores by at least 15 percent, according to a news release.

In addition, the company is working with its supplier community to produce packaging with the How2Recycle label and implement an initiative to make private-label product packaging easier for customers to reuse by 2020.

"Aldi has never offered single-use plastic shopping bags, and while we're pleased that we've helped keep billions of plastic grocery bags out of landfills and oceans, we want to continue to do more," Aldi US CEO Jason Hart says. "The commitments we're making to reduce plastic packaging waste are an investment in our collective future that we are proud to make."

Good Net volleyball project launches in Brazil

FIVB, the international federation of volleyball headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland, is teaming up with Netherlands-based Ghost Fishing Foundation to launch Good Net, a project designed to recover and recycle discarded fishing nets from the world’s oceans into volleyball nets.

Good Net started on Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro, where transformed fishing nets are being used for the first time and locals are becoming more aware of the global ghost net problem.

About 640,000 tons of fishing gear finds its way into the oceans every year, where it traps marine wildlife.

“As volleyball players, nets are at the center of our game and of our joy, and we love the beach, so it was really hard to learn that in the oceans there are so many nets that are doing so much hard out of sight,” Brazilian volleyball player Giba Filho said at the launch.

Good Net has also joined the United Nations' (UN) Clean Seas campaign, which aims to increase global awareness of marine litter, as well as implement measures that address the gaps in waste and recycling management.

“We understand just how ghost nets do a huge amount of harm to marine wildlife in places where only a tiny few can see that damage is being done, but volleyball nets, whether on a local beach or at a televised tournament, have a whole other level of visibility,” says Ghost Fishing CEO Pascal Van Erp. “With hundreds of millions of players and fans around the world, we’re really excited to see how teaming up with volleyball can help us raise awareness, raise nets from the oceans and return them to the supply chain.”

Sackers Recycling, Ipswich East Rotary partner 

During this year’s Orwell Walk, Sackers Recycling, Ipswich, England, is partnering with the Ipswich East Rotary Club to encourage participants to bring reusable bottles to the event as well as set up recycling collection points for paper cups, which will be provided in place of single-use water bottles.

Sackers will provide recycling bins at eight checkpoints to collect the paper cups, which will be taken to the recycling facility after the event to be recycled and baled.

“The Orwell Challenge is a big event for the town. There are hundreds of people taking part and the amount of waste produced can be quite substantial,” says James Cooper, waste and operations manager, Sackers, who is coordinating the collecting and processing of the material. “At Sackers, we can deal with large volumes of waste and turn this into a positive by recycling almost everything of what we collect from our recycling bins on the route. Combined with the paper cups and reducing single-use water bottles, we should be able to make a big impact"

Henkel, TerraCycle to recycle detergent pouches

Germany-based Henkel and Trenton, New Jersey-based TerraCycle have created a free recycling program that allows Canadians to recycle Henkel’s plastic detergent pouches. Canadian consumers can earn TerraCycle points when they recycle the empty pouches through the program, redeemable for charity gifts.

“Henkel has been focusing on sustainability in packaging for several decades and is now pleased to partner with TerraCycle to enable this creative approach to help ensure that Sunlight and Purex product packaging can be recycled after the product has been consumed,” Henkel Canada General Manager Mario Altan says.

Henkel has been partnering with TerraCycle since 2016, when Henkel launched a program to recycle the company’s adhesives packaging. The material is melted and turned into pellets that can be used by manufacturers to make new products, such as garbage cans and outdoor furniture.

Henkel was the first adhesive technologies company to offer this type of recycling program, according to a news release.