Coffee pods are still a relatively new and certainly convenient invention, and Aussies love them. Some reports estimate that Australian's use a staggering 3 million coffee pods every single day.
What that means -- besides a nation of buzzing people -- is a lot of landfill. This is something that leading pod manufacturer Nespresso recognised when they introduced their recycling program back in 2010.
As an update, on Monday Nespresso announced an expansion to the recycling program. Teaming up with Australia Post, the plan is to extend the reach -- particularly to rural areas -- by offering a special post satchel that consumers can now use to mail their used aluminium capsules back to Nespresso for recycling.
The new recycling satchels can be posted at any one of Australia Post's post offices or street post boxes, essentially providing a nationwide recycling option, regardless of where coffee drinkers live. The satchels cost $1.90 each and hold up to 130 pods. They are free to post.
"Unlike most other portioned coffee products, our coffee capsules are made from aluminium, a material that is infinitely recyclable," said Loïc Réthoré, General Manager of Nespresso Australia and Oceania, in a brand statement.
"The challenge we face is that there are some products that Australia's kerbside recycling collection systems cannot accept, which is why since 2010 we have operated a dedicated recycling program. Since then, we have been continuously looking for ways to make it easier for our consumers to recycle, as their participation is essential to make our recycling efforts a success."
Though the problem that still exists is that even with this program in place, consumers need to feel completed to go to the effort of sending off the pods.
Oxfam Australia have responded to the new mailback program urging coffee drinkers who won't use the service to purchase biodegradable Fairtrade coffee pods instead.
"We encourage consumers to think about the excessive cost and negative environmental impacts of buying aluminium coffee pods which cannot be recycled using a curb-side recycling program but need to be recycled via post," Oxfam Australia General Manager Julia Sumner said in a statement.
"Why not make a smarter decision at the checkout and buy Oxfam fair Coffee Capsules -- a range of coffee pods that not only reduce the environmental and waste impacts often associated with capsules, but also are Fairtrade certified and organic. While most other brands use full aluminium capsules, Oxfam's high quality range is made using biodegradable plastic, meaning that even if the capsules are not recycled they will naturally break down in landfill."
Sumner made a point of highlighting the Fairtrade nature of the coffee used on Oxfam's pods.
"By drinking Oxfam Fair Coffee Capsules, Australians also get to be part of a movement for global change -- our Fairtrade and certified organic coffee has been sourced from the cooperatives in Peru, PNG and Mexico. Purchases of the product support Oxfam's goal of delivering a future free from poverty and ensure farmers and producers around the world are working under fair conditions and that funds are provided for community development projects."
With the choice of using the send-back program or other pods, there's really no excuse to not ethically use pods anymore.