Coffee capsules in the blue bag? Absolutely!


In case you didn't already know: you can now put your used coffee capsules in the PMD bag. This has been possible since early 2023! No need to keep the capsules separate and then hand them in or give them to the postman. So how did that suddenly become possible? And what happens to the coffee capsules?

In the past there was no uniform collection and recycling system for coffee capsules. Nespresso capsules could be returned to the supplier or taken to a service point, but capsules from other brands ended up in residual waste. That is why the biggest coffee capsule brands (Nespresso, Nestlé and JDE Peet's) met with Fost Plus to come up with a sustainable recycling solution for all coffee capsules. It was not easy to find a sustainable recycling solution, because the capsules are relatively small compared with most of the other packaging items in the blue bag. In most cases, they also contain a large amount of product residues, coffee grounds and liquid.

Koffiecapsules bij PMD
Klein aluminium in het sorteercentrum

At the sorting centre, coffee capsules go into the 'small aluminium' material flow.

Most coffee capsules are made of aluminium. Initial tests in sorting centres showed that the aluminium capsules really were too small to be picked up in the standard process, so they ended up in the residual waste stream. Fost Plus and the major coffee brands have therefore made substantial investments in sorting centres. Now there are extra installations that can remove small aluminium items from the other PMD: this has created the 'small aluminium' waste stream. Coffee grounds, other product residues and any plastic films are removed in a subsequent step. The result is a pure aluminium stream that is ready for use in new items and packaging. Read more about the sorting process for metal packaging here.

Recycling plastic capsules is a lot more complex. These capsules vary a lot, as they are made from various types of plastic and come in different sizes, shapes and colours. Some of them still contain a lot of coffee grounds and product residues, while others are empty. Nevertheless, it is now possible to include a significant proportion of them in existing flows for polypropylene (PP) and mixed plastics. However, we are still on a mission to improve the sortability of plastic coffee capsules.

Take care with compostable capsules!

Some brands sell capsules with a message that they are compostable. Compostable materials are not composted via the blue bag; the only thing that goes into the blue bag is packaging destined for recycling companies. And of course recycling is different from composting.


Other doubts about sorting waste? Fill in what you want to recycle on top of this page and get the answer right away! 

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