Philstar Media Group

Of sustainable coffee drinking habits

Level up your accessories, spread the Yuletide cheer with upcycled aluminum coffee capsules.

Text and photos by JOHANNA L. AÑES-DE LA CRUZ For more information and to order, visit Nespresso PH’s official website at or its social media pages on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. Nespresso PH also has flagship stores on Laz

Who doesn’t love Christmas? And who doesn’t love coffee? Put these two together and things couldn’t be more perfect. Or could they? Why not add in a dash of eco-friendliness to make your Yuletide season and coffee drinking even more meaningful?

Sure, sustainability is best seen in the use of more environment-friendly alternatives like electric vehicles, green construction materials, and leading a more agri-centric lifestyle. But you can also practice sustainability even in the simpler things in life like buying recycled or upcycled Christmas gifts and practicing sustainable coffee drinking habits.

And leading coffee brand Nespresso has been able to blend these two things that Pinoys love the most—Christmas and coffee—while promoting sustainability along the way.


Nespresso is known for two things: its exquisite coffee blends and its vibrant aluminum coffee pods. Over the years, the convenience this innovation brings has made it wildly popular all over the world. Plug a Nespresso machine, insert a coffee pod, press a button, et voilà! You get a steaming mug of espresso—or perhaps a lungo—in a matter of seconds.

But what now of the cute little coffee pod? What happens after it’s squeezed of its precious coffee flavors and aromas? What happens to the leftover coffee grounds?

As consumption grew, concerns about the environmental impact of single-use capsules and used coffee beans heightened as well. Initially, many of the capsules were made from materials that are not easily recyclable, leading to issues of waste management.

Being the forward-thinking and trailblazing brand it has always been, Nespresso ramped up its sustainability efforts. In 2017, Nespresso set up capsule-collection systems in 36 countries—39 in 2023—to loop in users to its sustainability chain; consumers are encouraged to surrender their used coffee pods for recycling or upcycling. Recycling bags are provided free of charge.

Nespresso also focuses its sustainability program on three key aspects or areas: coffee quality, recyclability, and “second life.”


The first aspect, coffee quality, is one of the main reasons why Nespresso uses only aluminum pods.

Aluminum is the most protective material today which means that your coffee beans are protected from external factors like oxygen, moisture, and light, ensuring that flavors and aromas are preserved inside. The use of aluminum guarantees the freshness of your favorite Nespresso blends.

The second area, recyclability is in recognition of how aluminum is not just 100% recyclable—it is infinitely recyclable.

Each recycled or upcycled capsule takes on a new useful form—wheelchairs, fashion accessories, another coffee capsule, even a fullyfunctional Swiss army knife!

Lastly, the third area, “second life,” pertains to how coffee grounds are given a new lease on life by turning them to compost or fertilizers for vegetable farming.

Unknown to many coffee drinkers, used grounds offer a lot of benefits from improving soil aeration to acting as a natural pest repellent.

PARTNERS IN SUSTAINABILITY Fast forward to 2023 in the Philippines, Nespresso has already made great strides when it comes to sustainability, particularly in the use and reuse of its coffee pods. To further boost its efforts in ensuring a more sustainable coffee experience, the company has forged partnerships with local organizations to help achieve each of its three focus areas.

Nespresso, for instance, has partnered with the Negrense Volunteers for Change or NVC which upcycles the now-iconic coffee pods. Now that the -ber months are here, why not do your holiday shopping early and add to your to-buy list NVC’s array of eye-catching trinkets such as bracelets, earrings, and necklaces. You’ll never run out of designs from which to choose!

NVC’s used-capsule Yuletide decorations have also gained popularity over the years and make for meaningful gifts for loved ones during the most festive of seasons. We highly recommend their one-of-a-kind and incredibly ornate Christmas balls that will make the most delightful addition to your Christmas tree.

To further inspire in you the spirit of Christmas, know that for every trinket you buy you are able to help NVC feed undernourished children, send kids to school, and provide livelihood to local artisans through the proceeds from its sales.

Smart Recycle PH is another partner in Nespresso’s sustainability journey. Established on Sept. 18, 2021, in Cebu City, it handles the brand’s recycling aspect. It has since expanded its operations in Mindanao and Metro Manila and other major cities nationwide.

Smart Recycle PH also separates the residual coffee grounds from the pods. It then forwards the aluminum to Metalbank, a recycler of scrap metals, which turns it into aluminum bars and sheets for automotive and motorcycle spare parts, among other things.

Smart Recycle PH has a drop-off point at Through Habit Store & Cafe located at

745 Aurora Blvd., New Manila, Quezon City, near Robinsons Magnolia. For more convenience, it launched an app in July for individuals who will be dropping off their recyclables to its partners.

The partnership between Smart Recycle PH and Nespresso started in 2022, with 2,824 kilograms of aluminum coffee pods diverted since then. THE RECYCLING/UPCYCLING JOURNEY

Your tiny coffee pod’s recycling and upcycling journey starts the moment you choose to drop it into a Nespresso recycling bag. Each bag holds about 200 original-line pods, slightly fewer if you’re using the bigger Vertuo pods.

Nespresso fans and club members know the drill. Once full, you can drop the recycling bag off any Nespresso boutique, kiosk, or participating drop-off points. You can also turn in your full recycling bag the next time you have your orders delivered at home through its official online store.

From there, the bags are picked up, transported to Nespresso warehouses or specialist recycling plants where the pods are sorted—some plastic ones still get mixed up after all! Aluminum is then separated from the residual coffee.

The used coffee grounds sent back to Nespresso are forwarded to local farms to be used as compost.

Nespresso’s partners in this endeavor include Brgy. Chrysanthemum in San Pedro, Laguna; Quezon City Memorial Park; Holy Carabao! in Sta. Rosa, Laguna; and the Department of Agriculture.





Philstar Daily Inc