SWITZERLAND – Nespresso, a coffee operating unit of the Nestlé Group, has launched paper-based compostable capsules intended to be an alternative to the Swiss packaged food giant’s metal ones, which despite being recyclable often end up in the landfill.

Through the launch, the brand also wants to raise awareness among consumers on how to compost their capsules, as well as advocate for the acceptability of these coffee capsules in the public biowaste or organic bin.

It plans to pilot the home-compostable coffee capsules on the Nespresso Original system in France and Switzerland from spring 2023 before further launches in several other European countries within a year.

The paper-based capsules are touted as a breakthrough in packaging technology after three years of R&D, to deliver the high-quality coffee for which the brand is known – with no compromise on the taste experience.

Citing the French Environment and Energy Management Agency Consumer survey from 2020, Nespresso said the demand for compostable packaging is increasing, with an estimated 45% of French people now home composting one or more types of biowaste.

According to Innova Market Insights, compostable packaging is regarded by French consumers as the fourth most environmentally sustainable packaging type (11%), behind recyclable packaging (28%), reusable packaging (25%), and packaging made from recycled materials (13%).

As such, the new coffee capsules – developed in partnership with packaging leader Huhtamaki – are made from 82% paper pulp, alongside a compostable biopolymer film which serves as an oxygen protective barrier to preserve the coffee in transport, storage, and during the high-pressure extraction in Nespresso machines.

Charles Héaulmé, Huhtamaki CEO, said the innovation is result of a combination paper pulp from wood fiber, which is a naturally renewable material, compressing it to a coffee capsule using Huhtamaki’s high precision technology, and creating another sustainable alternative for Nespresso lovers.

Being an alternative for those who prefer and have access to compost, the paper-based compostable capsules widen the sustainable choices already offered to Nespresso consumers through its aluminum capsules.

The product is also certified for composting, both home and industrial, by TÜV Austria, an international certification body.

Currently, Nespresso offers over 100,000 aluminum capsule recycling collection points in 70 countries, giving almost 90% of customers convenient access.

In 2022, Nespresso achieved B Corp certification – joining an international movement of 4,900 purpose-led businesses that meet B Corp’s high standards of social and environmental responsibility and transparency.

Additionally, in France, Nespresso initiated Union des Acteurs du Compostable (UAC), an interest group bringing together public bodies, companies, recycling operators, and NGOs to support the implementation of solutions to help producers of biowaste increasing the sorting of biowaste as well as to raising awareness amongst consumers about composting.

Meanwhile, Nespresso’s coffee masters have announced the creation of four new blends, including an organic coffee, sourced through the Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality Program, specifically crafted to act in perfect harmony with these new paper-based capsules.

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