Give a Frapp


Latte fans around the world are ditching coffee shops in favour of the mystical ‘coffee capsule’ machine. These machines whip up cafe-quality coffee from the comfort of your own home (no polite pre-morning-coffee conversation required) using ‘capsules’, small plastic containers filled with coffee. However, these oomph-giving capsules are becoming increasingly controversial - the German city of Hamburg has even banned their usage and purchase in government-run buildings.  Why? The packaging is complex; a cocktail of aluminium foil tops, scrapings of coffee in plastic containers and individual plastic wrapping. In short, a nightmare for recycling plants so it mostly ends up biffed into landfills.

Enter Warkworth residents, and market gardeners, Patrick and Louise Cole. Their company, Coffee Capsules 2U provides nationwide delivery of Nespresso-compatible capsules, and, for a small fee, the collection and recycling of capsules, done by the pair in their own home.

This recycling marathon involves: hand-shucking of coffee grinds from the capsule; cleaning and recycling of the capsules and aluminium foil lids; and using coffee and paper packaging as compost in their spray-free, Warkworth Growers’ business. The residual individual wrap from each capsule is squashed into chicken feed bags (1000 wraps fill a bag) which are used to make raised garden beds.

Patrick was told to expect a three percent buy-in to the recycling program, but an impressive 15 per cent of their customers (including local residents and businesses like Withers accountants, Flight Centre and Rococo Hair) have opted in. This amounts to some 10,000 capsules and their packaging saved from death-by-landfill in the six months since Coffee Capsules 2U began.

Patrick and Louise hope this number will increase, meaning more and more coffee fans can enjoy their daily cup of joe, with a lower impact.