Coffee cups are looking half full rather than empty, thanks to Sainsbury’s. The retailer has recently teamed up with coffee pod manufacturer Dualit and On-Pack Recycling Label Ltd (OPRL Ltd) to prove that despite popular misconceptions and confusion, aluminium coffee pods can be recycled at home, provided they are empty of coffee grinds.
Until now, it’s been widely believed that aluminium coffee pods are too small to be captured for recycling when items are being sorted. Sainsbury’s has challenged the industry and discovered that waste management companies have facilities that would actually be able to capture and recycle these smaller items.
To help educate consumers about how to recycle their coffee pods, Sainsbury’s has become the first UK retailer to label its own brand aluminium coffee pods as recyclable. This label will make clear the importance of emptying the pod and rinsing it before placing it in the recycling bin, so that the clean aluminium can be sorted and recycled.
What’s more, from November customers will be able to purchase a Dualit EcoPress from their local Sainsbury’s store or online. The device is an easy way to ensure that coffee is separated and removed from the aluminium, making it ready to be recycled. Whilst not vital and customers could do this themselves with a teaspoon, the EcoPress makes it quicker and easier – helping encourage more people to recycle.
Currently, customers are advised to recycle coffee pods via specialist collection schemes which aren’t always convenient, so the EcoPress will be welcomed by many. Once the coffee has been separated, users can put the remaining coffee in home compost bins, in kerbside food waste bins, or in their garden – using small quantities around plants*.
Claire Hughes, Director of Product and Innovation at Sainsbury’s says: “We’re always looking for new ways to help our customers live more sustainably at home, and key to that is making sure any changes are small and easy to implement.
“That’s why we decided to challenge the notion that aluminium coffee pods can’t be recycled and with consumers more concerned about the planet than ever before, it felt like a natural place to look.
“Whilst we might be the first retailer to label our own brand coffee pods as recyclable, it’s important to understand that many aluminium pods are in fact recyclable. We hope others follow suit and change their packaging to raise awareness and encourage recycling.”
Earlier this year, Sainsbury’s launched its new brand mission ‘Helping Everyone Eat Better’, reflecting its mission to encourage and empower customers to make a positive change for their health and the planet too.
Sainsbury’s was the UK’s first major retailer to make a significant commitment to reduce plastic packaging across branded and own brand products by 50% by 2025. In 2021 it launched its first plant-based own-brand tea bags, as well as introducing in-store recycling points in 520 stores, making it easier to recycle flexible plastics.
Sainsbury’s has also been announced as the Principal Supermarket Partner for the United Nation’s international climate change conference, COP26, taking place this November.