Nespresso Pods

overall rating:



Katherine Cornett
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My overall impression of Nespresso is a very positive one. For a company as large as they are, I was thoroughly impressed by their long-standing commitment to sustainability, and how they continue to find ways to be more sustainable and help the earth combat climate change. I rated what the coffee pods are made of at 2.75 because Nespresso has made a sustainable choice in using aluminum over plastic, but they could publically promote their recycling business more so that fewer pods end up in landfills. For how the pods are made, I decided to award a 2.9 earth rank. The only reason I chose not to rank the pods’ production at 3 is that every company, no matter how sustainable, always has room to improve. Finally, I ranked Nespresso overall at 3 earths because I haven’t seen such a large and popular company, especially in the beverage/coffee industry, do as much as they have in the realm of sustainability and circular life cycles. I fully support Nespresso and their coffee pods and would highly recommend this product over Keurig.

What it's made of:


Nespresso made the conscious decision to construct their coffee pods out of aluminum, unlike other brands such as Keurig, which use plastic. Aluminum is the best material to protect the coffee against oxygen, light, and humidity, which can significantly affect the flavor. In terms of sustainability, aluminum is the smartest choice because it is a 100% recyclable material. When you’re finished with your Nespresso capsule, you can return it to the company in a special Nespresso recycling bag. The aluminum is then turned into cans, computers, coffee machines, and even new capsules. In evaluating the rank for what the Nespresso pods are made of, I decided to give it a 2.75. I believe the company is doing more than its competitors in terms of sustainability and attempting to create a circular lifecycle of its products, and they should continue on this path. However, I think many people are unaware of the recycling system they have implemented, so I would urge Nespresso to promote their sustainability practices even more so that fewer pods are just thrown away into the trash.

How it's made:


Nespresso pods are made of two components, the aluminum pod and the coffee grounds inside. Nespresso’s decision to use aluminum pods is not only sustainable in terms of the disposal of their product, but also in the manufacturing of the pods. Most pods are made from recycled material rather than new aluminum. This is a significant choice because it takes 95% less energy to recycle aluminum than it does to produce the raw materials needed to make aluminum. When the pods are returned to Nespresso, they send the used capsules to their recycling partner. There, the coffee grounds and aluminum are separated, with the aluminum being melted down and repurposed and the coffee grounds composted into soil. Nespresso has also made it a priority to support “sustainable coffee” by supporting small independent farmers. In the last 18 years, Nespresso has paired with over 100,000 independent farmers to give them the resources necessary to farm sustainably and help give back to the earth. For my ranking of how Nespresso pods are made, I decided to put it at 2.9 earths. Overall I am very impressed with how much time and energy Nespresso has put into being a sustainable business. Their focus on not only how the product is made, but also on what happens to it after it has been used, reflects a strong commitment to sustainability.

Who makes it:


Nespresso is a company that every coffee lover has heard of, but most don’t know the steps they have taken to be a sustainable company with a circular life-cycle. Nespresso’s sustainability practices range from the production of raw materials to end-of-life processes, as well as their carbon footprint. As previously mentioned, Nespresso uses recycled aluminum instead of new product because the energy required for production is 95% less. The company is very aware of the carbon footprint they leave through the production of their coffee products, so Nespresso has committed to offsetting its operational footprint to help combat climate change. Since their public commitment to sustainability in 2014, Nespresso has planted over 4.5 million trees and aimed to plant 5 million by the end of 2020. The native trees were chosen not only to help combat climate change, but also to provide additional benefits to local farmers. Nespresso has also been extremely active in expanding its coffee pod recycling initiative. 25 years ago, they first began the program in Switzerland, and today it is active in 39 countries with over 14,000 collection points worldwide. After some debate, I ultimately decided to give Nespresso a 3 earth rating. I was extremely impressed with the practices they have developed over their life and how they continue to strive to be more sustainable every day.