By HANNAH LAZATIN
Last year, the Philippines, unfortunately, ranked third on the list of the world’s biggest producers of plastic pollution. It trailed just behind overpopulated China and the world’s largest archipelago, Indonesia. This disappointing news has led more individuals and companies to make more environmentally-conscious decisions when it comes to consuming and producing, respectively.
Nespresso is one of the model brands when it comes to recycling practices, and this year, it is taking bigger steps to quicken the pace of its green efforts. Today, there are more than 100,000 collection points across the world and an estimated 92 percent of its used capsules undergo the tedious process of recycling.
In the Philippines alone, these collection points have started to multiply as Nespresso lovers warmly embrace the coffee brand’s efforts. There are currently seven pick-up points for used capsules located at boutiques and partner establishments, according to Novateur Coffee Concepts, Inc. managing director Patrick Pesengco. While more stations are being added, there’s now also the option of having the capsules picked up in the brand’s own recycling bags available through the e-commerce website.
After the capsules are collected, they are either recycled or upcycled. The upcycled capsules go to the Negrense Volunteers for Change (NVC) Foundation, where they will serve as decorative materials in artworks created and sold by local artisans. The other used capsules undergo a shredding process and are handed over to a secondary smelter. Before the capsules are smelted, any loose coffee grounds are separated and distributed among three farms that use the grounds as supplemental fertilizers. The smelted capsules, on the other hand, are turned into aluminum bars that are offered to an automotive manufacturer to turn into spare parts.
The capsules are made from aluminum, which we learn from Nespresso’s brand ambassador Marc Nelson, is a type of material that “can be infinitely recycled for the rest of its lifetime.” Aluminum also works best in keeping the coffee grounds fresh and free from light, air, and humidity—giving it an unparalleled flavor when compared to coffee packaged in plastic.
“In recent years, the concern about sustainability has grown stronger among Filipino coffee lovers,” says Pesengco. “We are launching this program to enable our customers to be responsible. But most importantly, we want them to know that they, too, have a crucial role to play in this effort.”
The managing director also encourages everyone to be wary of the recycling practices of the brands they use on a daily basis. “People have to be more knowledgeable, intentional, and know what they are consuming. At Nespresso, we can tell them exactly how it’s being recycled.”
Nelson, a staunch advocate of recycling waste and a self-proclaimed coffee fanatic, says now is the time for people to walk the walk. “Single-use plastic is such a debilitating disease on the planet. The average piece of single-use plastic is used for a total of seven minutes and then it’s with us for hundreds of years,” he says. “There’s enough awareness that everyone knows they shouldn’t be using single-use plastic,” he adds and proceeds to talk about WWF’s “Ayoko Ng Plastik” campaign, which urges everyone to refuse straws, refuse plastic bags, and take reusable utensils and bags around with them. The awareness is there but now it’s a matter of discipline and turning those changes into habit.
You can bring your used aluminum capsules at the following collection points: Nespresso Boutique at the Power Plant Mall, Rockwell, Nespresso pop-up stores at The Podium, Greenbelt (until June 2019), and One Bonifacio, BGC (starting July 2019); Rustan’s Department Stores. Home pick up is available for orders made via nespresso.ph, while direct collection is available for business-to-business accounts.