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The project to recycle plastic coffee capsules arrives in Italy

Pilot project funded by Illycaffè and Nestlè Italiana for the collection, selection and recycling of exhausted plastic capsules.

Illycaffè and Nestlè Italiana have signed a memorandum of understanding with the Region Friuli Venezia Giulia and the three companies that manage the waste cycle in the territory (Net, A&T 2000 and AcegAsapsAmga) to experiment in a pilot plant the recycling of exhausted coffee capsules in plastic material.

The Covid 19 emergency has created a new market scenario for Italian coffee. If during the months of domestic isolation the increase in expenses for the purchase of roasted coffee was predictable, it was not obvious instead to be able to give this impetus to a substantially flat market.

The first changes occurred in March 2020, with the beginning of the first lockdown. The forced domestic isolation and the closure of public premises have led to an increase in interest in products that allow you to prepare at home an espresso like the one at the bar. A context that has given a further boost to capsules and coffee pods, the two most dynamic and revolutionary segments of recent years.

At present, however, there is no structured and integrated system for their separate collection and recycling. The capsules are thrown between the undifferentiated waste and end up in landfill or incinerator.

Starting in July 2021, the capsules will be collected separately and then treated in an experimental facility. They will first be emptied and then divided into the constituent materials to be started by mechanical recycling. Plastic, aluminum and paper will be recycled, finding other uses in the market, while the content of wet part, a mixture of water and coffee powder, will be sent to composting.

According to the agreement Illycaffè and Nestlè Italiana will bear the costs of the project, namely those of the design, construction and management of the experimental capsule separation plant and those related to waste management. Net, A&T 2000 and AcegAsapsAmga, on the other hand, will provide know-how and plants located in the area, in addition to dealing about recycling.

Fabio Scoccimarro, the regional councillor for environmental protection and energy, said: "We are the first in Italy to carry out a circular economy project in this field, involving two large companies and waste managers for the reuse of exhausted coffee capsules. There are all the conditions for the pilot project to become an example throughout Italy. This is why I am already committed to bringing the results of this experiment to the attention of the State-Regions Conference as a good practice to be consolidated at national level".

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