As part of its mission to address the problem of plastic waste, the Eden Project has unveiled its own range of fully biodegradable Nespresso coffee capsules.
The new capsules can be placed in your home composting bin, compost heap or food recycling waste bin after use.
While they’re not the first compostable Nespresso pods we’ve seen, they are one of few to claim to fully break down in home compost waste in a matter of weeks. The card packaging is printed with vegetable-based inks and can also be recycled, making for a guilt-free espresso experience.
The Eden Project says that the coffee is ethically sourced too, and the pods are produced using sustainable energy methods.
There are four flavours to choose from and all are single origin coffees:
- Colombian Described as bright and crisp with notes of lemon, grapefruit and caramel
- Guatemalan Delicate with notes of almond, hazelnut and chocolate
- Costa Rican Complex with notes of toasted barley, spices and black walnut
- Italian Espresso Decaffeinated Delicate, smooth and rich with notes of caramel, nuts and citrus.
The Eden Project capsules are compatible with Nespresso coffee machines and are due to be sold at Waitrose, the Eden Project shop and on Amazon. They cost £3.50 for a pack of 10 at Waitrose, so at 35p per pod that’s roughly on par with Nespresso’s own capsules.
Best Nespresso-compatible capsules – see the top picks selected by our expert tasting panel
The rise of capsule coffee and why it matters for the environment
Capsule coffee systems such as Nespresso are extremely popular as they allow you to make quick, easy and mess-free espresso at home. However, the pods are difficult to recycle, as they are usually a mix of plastic, aluminium, foil and coffee grounds.
Nespresso has its own recycling scheme, where it will collect your used pods and recycle them for you, as do some Nespresso-compatible pod brands. We’ve seen a number of ‘compostable’ capsules launch in recent years, too, but these usually need to go in your kerbside food waste recycling bin, for collection by the council, as the materials require higher temperatures and industrial recycling methods to break down fully.
If you don’t have the facility to recycle food waste via your local authority, or simply want a home composting method, these new capsules could be just the ticket.
We haven’t tested these capsules yet, but in the meantime you can get our expert verdict on other popular pods, including some compostable versions, by checking our list of the best Nespresso-compatible capsules.
Other compostable Nespresso pods
Here’s a round-up of the other main compostable pods which are compatible with Nespresso coffee machines.
Home compostable coffee pods
These are thin on the ground, but Cafe Novell and Oquendo both sell fully compostable Nespresso-compatible pods, which they say can go straight into your home compost bin.
Novell’s pods come in two flavours – Intenso (with aromas of cereal and vanilla) and a decaf alternative. A box of 10 capsules costs £3.30.
Oquendo’s Natura pods come in five variations and cost £2.99 for 10 capsules, excluding any postage costs. Both are available online.
Compostable Nespresso pods (via local authority)
Dualit NX coffee pods
Dualit makes a range of capsules that are compatible with both Dualit and Nespresso coffee machines, including a selection that are compostable via your local authority food waste collection.
You can try Dualit’s ‘bold yet creamy espresso’ Sumatra Mandheling pods, or the Indian Monsoon, described as a ‘dark roasted espresso with a spicy finish’. At the time of writing, a pack of 60 capsules costs £12, which at 20p per capsule is cheap compared with Nespresso.
See how Dualit’s Nespresso-compatible coffee machine fared in our tests – read the full Dualit Classic review.
Percol compostable pods
Percol has a selection of pods that are fully compostable via your local authority. Made of plant-based materials, they are said to completely break down within 12 weeks.
You’ll find an Americano lungo, Organic Ethiopia espresso and Supremo ristretto in the range. You can see what our coffee experts made of the Ethiopia espresso in our full Nespresso taste test results.
Colonna compostable pods
Colonna’s plastic Nespresso pods are recyclable via your local authority. However, it’s worth noting that before you throw away a used capsule, you’ll have to peel off the foil lid and clean out the coffee grounds, which is a time-consuming job. The brand has produced a limited run of compostable capsules – ‘Las Galeras’ Colombian espresso and ‘Wegida Blue Lot’ Ethiopian espresso – which, like the others above, can be recycled via your local authority food waste scheme.
Coffee pod recycling schemes
While the big-name coffee capsule brands have yet to bring out compostable pods, most have their own recycling schemes to tackle the used pods piling up on your worktop. Here’s a look at some of the better-known options:
- Nespresso You can get your used pods picked up when your new ones are delivered by Nespresso. Alternatively, you order recycling bags frpm the Nespresso website and send the pods back via CollectPlus.
- Tassimo The coffee brand has partnered up with TerraCycle to create a free recycling service for used Tassimo T-DISCs, L’OR capsules and Kenco Eco Refill packs. Head to terracycle.co.uk to find your nearest drop-off point.
- Dolce Gusto Currently Dolce Gusto doesn’t have a recycling solution for its capsules in the UK, though the brand says it is working on it.
To find out more about the different coffee capsule brands, head to our guide on Nespresso vs Tassimo and Dolce Gusto.
Using Nespresso-compatible capsules
Nespresso is one of the only coffee capsule systems with a thriving market in third-party capsules, meaning you get more choice over the range of coffees you can use with your Nespresso machine (apart from Nespresso Vertuo machines, which use a different type of capsule and don’t have compatible options).
It’s important to check that any compatible capsule you buy will work with your specific Nespresso machine, as some won’t work in all models. You should be able to find this information on the packaging or online.
For more advice on using and disposing of Nespresso capsules, head to our guide to using Nespresso compatible capsules.