Nespresso's Packaging of Choice: What Else?

Nespresso use of aluminium packaging makes a statement in style and environmental responsibility.
December 2, 2015
When consumers hear "Nespresso," the first thought that usually comes to mind is George Clooney. Far more important to Nespresso's success, however, are the humble aluminium capsules it uses to deliver high-end coffee.
To ensure those infinitely recyclable capsules are being properly reused, the company has undertaken an ambitious sustainability effort to keep them out of landfills and in the supply chain.

Nespresso's embrace of aluminium packaging helps provide customers the highest quality product while remaining as environmentally responsible as possible. As the company explains: "Hermetically sealed aluminium capsules provide the best protection against factors such as oxygen, light and humidity that can compromise freshness, taste and quality.
Aluminium is also the only material that interacts with our machines in such a way as to consistently produce the best coffee." Compared to other materials, all-aluminium capsules do the best job of preserving coffee during its shelf life, eliminating the need for overpackaging and reducing the weight of the product making transportation more energy-efficient.
Unlike mixed-material capsules, the packaging used by Nespresso is infinitely recyclable, meaning it can be melted down and remade without end (all while saving 95% of the energy needed to create aluminium from scratch).

As a leader in the global coffee industry, however, the brand faces the daunting task of making sure customers with varying levels of access to recycling facilities are properly disposing of their coffee pods. Nespresso is taking on that challenge head-on, taking bold steps to ensure the aluminium capsules are not going to waste.
Since 2012, Nespresso has been an active member of the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI), an effort that brings it together with other industry and civil society leaders to establish a global standard for sustainable aluminium. The ASI was the fruit of Nespresso's close collaboration with International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on creating a "Responsible Aluminium" product.

Since recycling cannot be used to full effect if capsules are improperly disposed of, Nespresso is going to great lengths to recoup used pods. Between 2009 and 2013, the brand tripled its capsule recycling capacity. Nespresso now has 14,000 of its own collection points, including 2,600 in Switzerland, 5,000 in France, and 2,000 in the United States.

To make things even easier for American customers in select states, Nespresso provides pre-paid packaging to mail back used capsules. Moving forward, the brand's goal is to up global collection capacity to 100% by 2020.

As a company that relies on aluminium to protect the freshness and aromas of our highest quality coffees, we believe that this new credible and practical standard for sustainable aluminium will provide for greater transparency across the aluminium supply chain and will benefit consumers, companies and the environment.

Jean-Marc Duvoisin
CEO of Nestlé Nespresso S.A
Recycling aluminium is not the only way in which Nespresso sets itself apart as a good global citizen. At the urging of brand spokesman George Clooney, Nespresso has backed the development of a coffee industry in war torn South Sudan, working with non-profit TechnoServe to train hundreds of farmers over the past four years.

By responsibly leveraging aluminium to reduce its carbon footprint and using coffee production to promote economic development, Nespresso is setting a new example of corporate responsibility for other brands to follow.