Newcastle joins Australian-first coffee capsule recycling trial

10 Nov 2021

An Australian-first pilot program will allow 3,000 households in Newcastle to recycle aluminium coffee pods through their kerbside bins.

Households participating in the Curby Coffee Capsule trial will receive a specially designed bright orange bag to collect their used aluminium capsules, which they can then place in their kerbside recycling bins for collection.

City of Newcastle joins Mosman and Willoughby Councils in Sydney to be the first Australian councils to trial the scheme, which is being run by Australian recyclers iQ Renew and CurbCycle.

The trial will provide vital insights to help inform the development of a national coffee capsule recycling scheme, which is being developed in collaboration with Planet Ark.

City of Newcastle Manager of Waste Services Troy Uren said the trial would add to the suite of waste-recovery initiatives in Newcastle, which are all designed to reduce the amount of rubbish going to landfill.

"A survey of more than 500 Newcastle residents last year found 98% felt it was important to divert waste from landfill," Mr Uren said.

"City of Newcastle already has a number of well-received waste-reduction initiatives and is in the process of researching and designing its new generation recycling collection systems, which include the development of a new Materials Recovery Facility at the Summerhill Waste Management Centre. A key pillar to this approach is identifying key partners in the industry, which will allow us to offer innovative and flexible services to cater for changes over time in what and how we recycle.

"With the introduction of the Curby Coffee Capsule trial, we're pleased to offer residents an opportunity to become involved with another innovative solution to increase resource recovery at the kerbside."

Paul Klymenko, Planet Ark CEO congratulated City of Newcastle for taking part in the program.

"It is great to see this trial occurring and we want to thank all the collaboration partners for making this possible," Mr Klymenko said.

"By providing their communities with the additional option of kerbside collection it will allow more people to recycle their coffee capsules and contribute to creating a circular economy."

Under the ‘Curby’ trial, the capsules will be separated from other recycling at iQ Renew’s Materials Recovery Facility at Somersby and transferred to the existing Nespresso recycling system in NSW for separating into coffee grounds and aluminium. From here, the aluminium will go to aluminium producers, saving 95% of the energy required to source aluminium from scratch, with coffee grounds going to local commercial compost.

iQ Renew CEO Danial Gallagher said the trial shows community’s desire for new kerbside recycling solutions using the yellow lidded bin.

"The trial is proving that we can harvest the Curby bag containing aluminium capsules at the recycling facility," Mr Gallagher said.

“The number of the bags received at the MRF during the trial so far has been very encouraging and we look forward to receiving even more volume from City of Newcastle households.”

With funding for the trial provided by Nespresso, General Manager Jean-Marc Dragoli said the company’s experience in developing similar recycling schemes overseas had shown that convenience is king when it comes to the success of recycling.

“We need to make it as easy as possible for people to get their used capsules recycled, and we know kerbside recycling is the easiest path. We hope that this increases the amount of capsules we can collect and process for a better future,” Mr Dragoli said.

Participation in the trial is limited to the first 3,000 households in Newcastle that sign up before 10 December. Interested residents can register at or via the Curby App at the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.