Recycling Nespresso pods in the United States

If you’re wondering how to recycle your used Nespresso pods, you have three options:

1) Use Nespresso’s pre-paid UPS pod bag.

On Nov. 17, 2015, Nespresso announced a recycling program, which allows us to send our used pods directly to Nespresso. Prior to this, Nespresso partnered with TerraCycle, a company that recycles hundreds of consumer items.

Now, to recycle your pods, you can order UPS pre-paid pod bags from Nespresso — but they will only give you a limited number with your order. For example, a $200 order will only be given 2 recycle bags, and you must request the bags — they do not send you bags automatically. You can order pods and bags either by calling 1-866-212-8481, or by placing your pod order online.

Each bag holds about 200 traditional capsules or 100 Vertuo capsules or 400 B2B capsules.

Nespresso processes the used pods, separates the aluminum from the coffee grounds, and melts the aluminum to make new products. The coffee is composted and distributed to landscapers, garden centers, municipalities and homeowners. Nespresso explains the process in this video.


2) Take them to a participating Nespresso boutique or a partner store.

• Some, but not all, Nespresso boutiques will take your spent pods. U.S. boutiques participating in pod recycling are:

• Aventura
• Boston
• Chevy Chase
• Chicago
• Costa Mesa
• Miami
• New York
• Palo Alto
• San Francisco
• Scottsdale
Nespresso’s store locator is located here. Click the “Recycling Points” tab above the map for specific locations that offer recycling drop-off.

• Sur La Table accepts Nespresso pods at many of their locations. You can check out their program and participating locations here.

• Williams-Sonoma also collects pods at some locations. The best way to check a location is using Nespresso’s store locator, then click the “Recycling Points” tab.


3) Recycle them yourself with Nessie Press.

Nessie Press removes coffee grounds from Nespresso pod

  • Do you want to keep the Nespresso pods for craft projects, or keep the coffee grounds for your garden? If so, you’ll like the Nessie Press. It pushes out the spent coffee into an attached holding container, leaving a crunched and almost empty Nespresso pod. Some people use these smashed pods to make jewelry and such, like this necklace and earring set.
  • This product is available through Amazon, but at time of this post, not via Prime, so you’ll pay for shipping. Please check out the reviews — which come in at about 3.6 stars — for more details.
  • Thanks to Walter at NessiePress for posting in 2016 the information about his product. And thanks to Susan for the positive comments about this product. If you’ve used this product, please let us know in the comments section, below.




4) Quirky do-it-yourself methods

Romiter Group imageCoffee pod manufacturer the Romiter Group has a coffee pod blog where they’ve posted several interesting coffee pod articles. If you’re into coffee pod machines, check out Romiter’s web site where you can see the machines that actually make Nespresso pods!

But, more important, this post runs through a number of different at-home options for removing coffee grounds from Nespresso pods at home. Each method includes an image, a quirky description, and a rating on a scale of 10.

The problem is, if you’re looking to retain the colorful capsule for crafting projects, you might not find what you’re looking for at this post.

If you have any other suggestions, please comment below!


Other information related to recycling Nespresso pods:

Recycling Nespresso pods is complicated process, and there are only a few recycling centers that can handle pods. There are also layers of regulatory hurdles, depending on the country. If you want to recycle the pods yourself,  you have to remove the coffee from the pod before you take the aluminum pods to your recycle center. Most recycle centers can’t handle the coffee in the pods, so this step is important. If you drop off pods that still have coffee in them, you may find that the recycle center simply throws them into the trash, and the pods end up in a landfill, any way.

If you live outside the U.S. [where this blog is based], you may find more Nespresso pod drop-off locations. Some countries are well-saturated with drop-offs, based on how long Nespresso has had a presence in the country, which means they’ve had more time to build a network of drop-off locations.  If you live in Switzerland, for example, you’re not asking how to recycle your pods, because there is one collection point for every 3,400 people, according to this source.

If you’ve not already visited the site, here is Nespresso’s eColaboration site, which is dedicated to environmental issues. There is some interesting information here about recycling pods, but it’ll probably leave you asking more questions than it answers.

Meanwhile, stay tuned for the Ethical Coffee Company to begin offering its biodegradable podscompatible with most Nespresso machinessoon. This company was launched by the former CEO of Nespresso, Jean-Paul Gaillard, who seems ambivalent about building a company that competes with Nespresso’s 1,600 patents. This article at is a good summary on the topic.

If any of you have additional information, please comment on this page and share what you know!

32 Responses to Recycling Nespresso pods in the United States

  1. jplamer says:

    As far as I know, the only place to get recycling bags is directly from Nespresso when you place an order with them. And, you have to ask for the bags, they don’t come automatically. I think they limit each order to 2 bags, regardless of how many pods you’re ordering.
    I’ve been sending pods using these bags all through the Covid shutdown, so as far as I know, the pod recycling system is still in place.

  2. Ruth b Cyrus says:

    During covid19 shut down what to do with verturo pods. Have no ups bags. Amazon sends no bags

  3. Erik Ho says:

    Instead using its ups recycle bag, you can drop them off at its recycle location using your own garbage bag.

  4. Bob Noble says:

    Unfortunately you must buy pods from
    Nespresso to get the recycle bag. They need to fix their sentence which does say they will send the bags

    • jplamer says:

      Yep — you’re right. My wording here is (was — I just changed it!) outdated. It was true that at one time you could simply request bags, but now you’re right, you can only get recycle bags when you order pods. AND, you have to specifically request the bags, AND Nespresso limits the number of bags you can order. We order $200 in pods each order (to receive free shipping) and they will only give us 2 recycle bags. 😦

      Needless to say, we fill our recycle bags to the top!

      Thanks for the comment, Bob!

  5. Susan says:

    I’ve had a NessiePress for about 8 months and really like it. It’s very easy to use, and efficiently and thoroughly removes the spent coffee grounds from the Nespresso original line capsules. I put the grounds into my garden compost, and the empty pods go back to Nespresso for recycling.

    • jplamer says:

      Thanks for your product review, Susan. I’ve just added a photo of the Nessie Press to this page!

  6. Pingback: Illy pods for Nespresso machines! | Lungo Cups for Nespresso Lungos

  7. thomas dea says:

    I went to the ups store on Columbus and bay in san Francisco with the pods in the nespresso
    recyclable bag and they refused to take it..

  8. Gustavo says:

    I just went to the UPS store at Olympic and Sawtelle and they would not accept the Nespresso recycling bag with the UPS label on it. They claim the bags have broken in the past.

    • jplamer says:

      Wow — good to know.
      I’ve never had a problem…
      If anyone else reading has a problem like this, please post!

  9. Walter says:

    You can recycling them yourselves using the Nessie Press from

  10. Tdaniel says:

    Unfortunately, the Outpresso site says they no longer sell their product.

  11. D. Arditti says:

    I live in Aventura, FL and the UPS driver didn’t want to pick the Nesspresso bags up because he said it needs a return label. It’s that how it works??? Thanks

    • jplamer says:

      I recently shipped my first Nespresso pod return bag, and it was no problem. There’s a label attached to the bag itself. Did you order your bags directly from Nespresso?

  12. Jay Fischer says:

    I am the Founder/President of Ag Choice Organics Recycling in NJ. Go to youtube and type in “Nespresso Recycling USA” and you can see my facility processing Nespresso Pods.

    • jplamer says:

      Fantastic video, Jay! Are you processing the new pod recycling bags that Nespresso recently started offering? I see that TeraCycle no longer recycles them now that Nespresso offers these bags. Thanks for posting info about your video, and here’s the direct link:

  13. Andy Haasl says:

    The $30 Outpresso for recycling the aluminum works great, and your plants will love it too!!

  14. Lynne says:

    I’d love to harvest the used coffee for fertilizer for acid-loving plants. May check out the $30 gadget to do just that. Thanks for the info via this blog on all fronts. Cheers.

    • jplamer says:

      Thank you, Lynne.

    • Heidi says:

      I just did this this morning.
      1)Save the pods for a few weeks as this will allow the coffee to dry out and the coffe falls out easier.
      2) hold the pod in one hand and using a small sharp knife in the other cut into the foil and slice around to bend back the foil
      3) if the coffe is dry just shake it out into a container or use the knife to help you dig out the coffee and put it into th container.

      4) quickly rinse the pods, stack them together and put them into your recycling

      Put the grains in your plants and gardens and watch your plants grow!!

      It took about 10-15 minutes to empty about 30-40 pods
      Good luck!!

      • jplamer says:

        Thank you, Heidi! This keeps the capsule in tact for crafters who use spent capsules for craft projects — great tip!

  15. Marcus says:


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