Officials in the German city of Hamburg have banned coffee capsules in state-owned buildings
Humankind’s desire for coffee is proving to be quite a nuisance in the 21st century, as the world battles collectively against global waste; the newest coffee-related pest comes in the shape of plastic coffee capsules that are used in a special machine that produce a deliciously drinkable coffee with just the press of a button.
The coffee capsule menace follows hot on the heels of the throwaway coffee cup problem, which is still an ongoing issue, although efforts are being made by some companies to reduce the number of paper cups that are being sent to landfill, including fast food restaurant McDonald’s, which has set up a partnership with Cumbria based paper mill, James Cropper Plc.
Officials in the German city of Hamburg have announced that coffee capsules and capsule machines can no longer be purchased using state money and are now banned from use within state-owned buildings. The decision has been made in an effort to reduce the amount of waste being produced in government-run sites.
According to Ross Colbert, from the Dutch financial firm Rabobank, the coffee market in western Europe is worth £13.9bn, and the industry is continuing to grow, including the market for coffee capsules, which has been growing 9% per year for the last five years. Recent figures suggest that £112m was spent in the UK alone on coffee capsules in 2015.
The popular coffee pods are generally considered unrecycleable and most will end up in landfill. The mixture of plastic and aluminium, from which they are produced, presents a problem to recycling plants, especially with the added nuisance of left-over coffee residue that is left in the pods after use.
Jan Dube, from the Hamburg Department of the Environment and Energy, said of the capsules: “It’s 6g of coffee in 3g of packaging… We in Hamburg thought that these shouldn’t be bought with taxpayers’ money.”
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