RezeroLab Data

Coffee capsules

Data from Catalunya

Coffee capsules represent an example of a product with a bad design that does not allow its correct management as waste and recycling. Their small size and the fact that they are still full of organic content when they have become waste makes it difficult to recycle them, even though most of them are made of aluminum and it is a completely recyclable material. Furthermore, it is a product that does not cover any real need in society and that presents many traditional and more sustainable alternatives, such as the use of Italian coffee makers and bulk ground coffee.

Evolution of the estimated amount of coffee capsules consumed in Catalonia and its associated waste generation

Source:Alimarket and the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food of the Spanish Government

2021 was the first year in which coffee capsule consumption decreased compared to the previous year, since the product first appeared around 15 years ago.
Even so, consumption is high, estimated at around 572 million units of capsules per year in Catalonia.

It should be noted that capsule waste consists of a container (usually aluminium or plastic) and a majority of organic waste (coffee and moisture), which must be managed in the residual fraction because it is not easily separable. With capsule-free coffee consumption alternatives, the organic waste generated could be composted, while avoiding capsule container waste.