Costa coffee capsule recycling

Coffee capsules recycled

Coffee capsules recycled Photo: Shutterstock / RT91021041

The Association of Municipalities of the Western Costa del Sol will be a pioneer in the recycling of coffee capsules and estimates that it will recover more than eight tonnes of capsules per year, which will no longer be deposited in landfill.

The Mancomunidad de Municipios de la Costa del Sol Occidental is starting a procedure for the recycling of coffee capsules, a waste that has increased exponentially in recent years.

The company, Urbaser, has signed an agreement to recover and recycle the capsules which coffee drinkers mistakenly throw into the grey or yellow rubbish containers.

The president of the Mancomunidad, Manuel Cardeña, explained that, “thousands of coffee capsules are thrown away every day. This waste is very difficult to recycle in the treatment plants as their small size prevents them from being detected by the machinery. Coffee capsules are made of aluminium or plastic so, to recycle them correctly, they should be deposited in specific collection points distributed by the manufacturers themselves, as is the case with batteries. But they should not be disposed of in the yellow or grey bin although this is a very common practice”.

That is why, in the words of Cardeña, “the Costa del Sol Environmental Group has made an effort to recover this material for subsequent recycling and to prevent it from reaching landfill. The recovery of this waste will allow us to get closer to the objectives set by the European Union, which states that by 2035 only 10 per cent of the waste generated can be deposited in landfill sites”.

It is estimated that 170 kilos of capsules will be recovered per week, which means 680 kilos per month, and more than eight tonnes per year.

Arecafé (a non-profit organisation set up by coffee-producing companies to provide solutions for the collection and recycling of coffee capsule waste), has more than 400 collection points for used coffee capsules in Andalucia.

Once the capsules are deposited at the collection points, they are transported to authorised recyclers. They first grind them to separate out the coffee grounds inside. Once opened and emptied, they are separated by material. The aluminium is melted down and reused. The plastic is crushed into pellets, which are then used to make new materials. The coffee grounds are used to produce compost for agricultural use.

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Written by

Kevin Fraser Park

Kevin was born in Scotland and worked in marketing, running his own businesses in UK, Italy and, for the last 8 years, here in Spain. He moved to the Costa del Sol in 2016 working initially in real estate. He has a passion for literature and particularly the English language which is how he got into writing.