Coffee culture brews up a headache

Australia: Nespresso’s advertising campaign
starring actor George Clooney has helped the coffee-capsule market grow
‘almost 1000%’ over the last five years, the Sydney Morning Herald
reports. But this burgeoning industry in Australia is also turning into
an environmental headache, consumer watchdogs have warned.

The
‘Clooney effect’ has ‘almost single-handedly launched an entire new
waste stream globally’, says Jon Dee, head of environmental group
DoSomething and founder of National Recycling Week. He intends to
confront coffee powerhouse Nespresso in order to find out exactly what
it is doing to recycle the popular aluminium cups and how its
sustainability programme holds up.

Dee isn’t the only one concerned about
the ‘craze of the pods’. Geoff Parker, head of the Australian Beverages
Council, reveals that Australians drink up to 5 billion cups of coffee a
year and that the beverage now counts as the ‘most consumed’ in the
country after water.

Meanwhile, Nespresso is encouraging
coffee fans to return used pods to one of the 12 Nespresso boutiques
around Australia. Also, the company cites the results of a 2011 espresso
coffee life-cycle analysis, saying its recycled capsules represent ‘the
option with the lowest environmental impacts’ when compared to other
such cups on the market.

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