Ground to Ground

Recycling Coffee Pods for the Dolce Gusto

Coffee pods are such a cool idea for the manufacturer, it allows them to differentiate their product in ways that were previously unknown at such a level of granularity, plus you can make a whole lot more selling little pods for a buck than a big jar of the stuff for five.

Hence, the rise of the pods!

Now what happens if you buy a Dolce Gusto and also feel like you should do the right thing and recycle the spent coffee grounds trapped within that plastic shell? Well not much… you’re screwed actually.

The Dolce Gusto is a particularly tricky pod to get the grounds out of (yes with some of the pods you have a fighting chance), because the only way to get to the coffee is to pull off the thick double coated top and either scrape them out or rinse it in a bucket of water. Either way is less than ideal and it is going to take some time to get a decent amount.

So what does Nestle (AKA Nescafé) have to say about it?

NESCAFÉ® Dolce Gusto® capsules are made from different material and our volumes are too small to be recycled as a second material in the standard recycling streams, therefore at the moment the best solution for NESCAFÉ® Dolce Gusto® capsules is to be used to generate energy for other industries whenever local conditions allow or be recycled as part of mixed-plastics.


So there are a couple of things that you the consumer can do, if you feel that having no real option to reuse the perfectly good natural fertilizer trapped within the plastic casing is just not good enough:

  1. Don’t buy them!
  2. Give them back to the retailer, maybe they can collect enough to do something useful with them.
  3. Use a French press or good old fashioned copper pot to brew your coffee. That’s what I do with Greek coffee and it is STRONG.
  4. Tie a few with thick cord to replicate the beauty of the Bola – you too can catch running game or low flying birds.
  5. Stick a few in your gob and see how far you can spit them out.
  6. Or… repeat step 1.


Now if you happen to be mechanically minded and can come up with an easy way to extract the good coffee from the bad plastic, please do share with the group. And maybe there should be more than 2 steps – what do you reckon?

6 thoughts on “Recycling Coffee Pods for the Dolce Gusto

    • Yeah I like your style. My neighbor have me a small copper pot for brewing coffee and using it is has become a cherished tradition. Not only is it calming to stand over brewing coffee, the drink itself is fresh, strong, and delicious. And cheap!!
      What kind of coffee do you normally brew in it?


      • We buy the Alliance Rainforest Australian coffee from FNQ, sold locally in Brunswick. I try to get produce within Victoria first, then Australia. It is not easy to get 100% local organic produce due to our climate. Coffee will have a longer footprint. I would like to try grow my own coffee someday. I know it is possible in Sydney.


      • Yeah it would be nice to grow the beans and go through that process all the way to cup. Would take a heap longer but kind of like making your own olive oil, the quality and flavor would make it all worthwhile.


  1. I vote for “Don’t buy them.” You might make yourself feel better by reusing these pods. I found using them to start seedlings particularly ironic. Why make a fuss about wasting a teaspoon of coffee when the more substantial packaging it came in is piling up in our garbage bins? “In 2013, Green Mountain produced 8.3 billion K-Cups, enough to wrap around the equator 10.5 times.” (Mother Jones, “Your Coffee Pods’ Dirty Secret”, That’s just one company that makes these awful things.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the info Rebekah. Yeah it is disappointing that we are making so much rubbish in the process of trying to have a coffee. Why does it have to be so damaging? I don’t think there is a better example of how our market economy lets us all down by valuing the sale of those little pods as more valuable than the tonnes of landfill it leaves behind. 8.3 billion K-Cups in one year – wow what a horrible thought.


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