illycaffè partners with TerraCycle to facilitate recycling of plastic and aluminum Iperespresso coffee capsules


illycaffè has partnered with TerraCycle, a global leader in recycling ‘hard-to-recycle’ waste – to facilitate the collection and recycling of its plastic and aluminum Iperespresso coffee capsules. The scheme has initially launched in the UK, France, Spain, Austria, The Netherlands and Belgium, where consumers can have used capsules collected from home or can post them to TerraCycle (depending on the country).

In the UK, illy customers can benefit from home collection via UPS and send them to TerraCycle via the Royal Mail by registering on the website to have up to 200 used plastic capsules, including ground coffee waste, collected and taken away for recycling. The scheme is available exclusively to customers of 

Coffee capsules are notorious for their poor environmental credentials and are rarely collected by local councils because the plastic packaging is made up of multiple complex materials that are costly to separate and recycle. This scheme, however, ensures that the used Iperespresso and Nespresso compatible capsules, made respectively with polypropylene and aluminium, do not end up in landfill and are instead recycled into a new usable material, whilst the coffee ground is sent to a composting plant. In addition, carbon emissions released when the waste packages are transported to the TerraCycle factory will be offset so that illy can neutralise the negative impact it has on the environment.

This scheme follows illy’s ‘One Makes The Difference’ initiative, which aims to eliminate approximately 175 tons of plastic per year via the introduction of eco-friendly items such as recyclable to go cups and ESE compostable paper pods. illy is also working to become carbon neutral by 2033, and neutralising the carbon emissions from the transport of waste is just one way in which it is working towards this target. The waste collected is used in a wide range of end products, including the production of outdoor furniture, construction, and even children’s playgrounds.

Massimiliano Pogliani, CEO of illycaffè, comments: “illycaffè is a Benefit Corporation that has made a commitment to investing in promoting an environmentally sustainable lifestyle. We want to offer our customers the opportunity of making a cup of espresso at home using environmentally friendly capsules. For this reason, together with TerraCycle, we developed a circular economy programme that allows us to collect and give new life to both plastic and aluminium capsules, without any additional costs or hassle for consumers; we will take care of the entire process together with our partner.”

Laure Cucuron, general manager at TerraCycle Europe, commented: “illycaffè is showing great initiative by making their products recyclable and TerraCycle is thrilled to be a part of their efforts. TerraCycle will be responsible for giving the capsules and coffee grounds a new lease of life by sending the grounds for composting, and turning the plastic and aluminium elements into a pellet or flake which can be used in the production of new, durable objects such as outdoor furniture or construction applications.”