Nespresso coffee capsules

The first ever bike powered by Nespresso capsules

Posted on 02 April 2020.

Who would ever have imagined an encounter between Swedish design and Arabica coffee giving birth to... a bike? That’s the challenge Nespresso and the start-up Vélosophy took up. They created the first ever bike made from recycled aluminum capsules.

"Consumers are increasingly aware of the need to recycle plastic but less about aluminum.”

Every minute, 39,000 coffee capsules go in the garbage can worldwide. And that's a terrible shame – in particular because the aluminum they contain is endlessly recyclable. The Nespresso brand and the Swedish start-up Vélosophy had an original idea, to say the least: to make bikes from used capsules.Called the "RE: Cycle", the model took two years of work and 300 coffee pods per bicycle. Since August 2019, the 1,000 units in the limited series have been on sale on the Vélosophy website for €1,290. A capsule-shaped bell, basket and bottle holder for a thermos of coffee... everything about the "RE: Cycle" reminds you of its origins. Right down to its color, which echoes the mauve of the Swiss brand's Arpeggio grand cru.

Grab the headlines and take the bull by the horns

Although the Swedish start-up has been developing bicycles made of recycled aluminum since 2015, this limited series is intended to be a huge turning-point. "When I collect recycled aluminum, I often don't know what the material was used for before. Now I can tell consumers that their bicycles are made from Nespresso capsules," founder Jimmy Östholm told the magazine Fast Company.

Vélosophy's objective is therefore clear: to focus the general public's attention on aluminum recycling. "Consumers are increasingly aware of the need to recycle plastic but less about aluminum," says Jimmy Östholm.

But there’s a lot at stake. Every year, 40,000 metric tons of aluminum are used to produce the famous pods. The equivalent of four Eiffel Towers! And at the moment, barely 20% of Nespresso customers recycle their capsules.

So the coffee giant decided to take the bull by the horns. Besides the bikes, the brand has stepped up its efforts over the last few years. In France, for example, it has financed the development of special machines that can recycle its small aluminum capsules and is now also launching major public communication campaigns. And the results seem promising since in France the capsule recycling rate rose by 42% in 2017. “What else?”