Eroski launches campaign to recycle coffee capsules

The Spanish retail co-op chain says 100% of the material used in the capsules will be reused through the scheme

Spanish retailer Eroski is setting up collection points in its store for used coffee capsules to tackle waste.

Coffee capsules are hard to recycle because they are made from a mix of aluminium and plastic and include additional organic waste from coffee. But Eroski’s scheme will recyle 100% of the material.

Coffee companies producing capsules have so far set up around 800 recycling points across Spain, but Eroski is the first major supermarket in Spain to adopt the measure.

The chain – part of Mondragon co-op – is piloting the project in its stores in the Basque country, Navarra and Balearic Islands to collect capsules of any brand and material.

The used capsules will go to a recycling plant where a waste management firm will separate the materials for treatment and recycling. The coffee waste will become compost while the plastic and aluminium will be melted down to make new containers. The process will be closely monitored by Eroski to assess the reduction in carbon emissions.

“We are aware of the increasing demand for single-use coffee capsules, the increasing amount of waste they generate, and the low number of collecting points that facilitate the right type of recycling,” said Alejandro Martínez Berriochoa, director of health and sustainability of Eroski. “This is due to the complexity of the process, which requires separating and managing the organic coffee waste from the aluminium and the plastic of the capsule.

“This initiative will enable us to recycle 100% of the raw materials of the capsules and organic waste and enable our customers to minimise the environmental impact of their consumption.”

Eroski will use its own magazine, Eroski Club, to promote the initiative and encourage responsible consumption.

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