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Kerbside recycling pilot for aluminium coffee capsules launched in Sydney

aluminium coffee capsules

Australian recyclers, iQ Renew and CurbCycle, will partner with Mosman and Willoughby councils to facilitate a trial to recycle aluminium coffee capsules, which will help inform the development of a national coffee capsule recycling scheme, led by Planet Ark. 

A specially designed, bring orange bag will be sent to the 5,000 participating households in the trial areas to collect used aluminium capsules. The participants can then place the orange bags in their kerbside recycling bins for collection. 

This Australian-first pilot will provide vital insights, with the potential to roll out the scheme across the country. 

“It is great to see this trial occurring and we want to thank all the collaboration partners for making this possible,” Planet Ark CEO Paul Klymenko said. 

“By providing their communities with the additional option of kerbside collection, it will allow more people to recycle their coffee capsules and contribute to creating a circular economy.” 

aluminium coffee capsules
“Curby” recycling bag for aluminium coffee capsules.

The capsules will be separated from other recycling at iQ Renew’s Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) and transferred to the existing Nespresso recycling system in NSW for separating into coffee grounds and aluminium. From here, the aluminium will go to aluminium producers, saving 95 per cent of the energy required to source aluminium from scratch, with coffee grounds going to local commercial compost. 

Nicknamed the “Curby” pilot, the trial will provide a way to test how capsules can be collected and sorted and assess household demand for the scheme, iQ Renew CEO Danny Gallagher said. 

“While aluminium coffee capsules can already be collected for recycling through store drop-off, post and bulk recycling boxes, their small size has been an obstacle to recycling in traditional kerbside recycling systems,” Gallagher said.  

“We have looked at kerbside collection systems overseas to see what works, and are optimistic that the Curby system of placing them in a bag will allow them to be separated easily in our facility.” 

Funding for the trial will be provided by Nespresso. Having developing similar recycling schemes overseas, Nespresso has found that convenience is king when it comes to the success of recycling. 

“We need to make it as easy as possible for people to get their used capsules recycled and we know kerbside recycling is the easiest path,” Nespresso general manager Jean-Marc Dragoli said. 

“We hope that this increases the amount of capsules we can collect and process for a better future.” 

Participation in the trial will be limited to 5,000 households in Mosman Council and Willoughby City Council areas. Interested residents can register at www.curbythebilby.com.au/coffeecapsules or via the Curby App at the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. 

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