Check your pods! Though one coffee capsule company recently confirmed that its pods are BPA free, the pods did test positive for estrogenic activity and may also contain polystyrene, a possible carcinogen. The lid on capsules is usually made of aluminum, which has some health concerns and may be bad for the brain.
Capsules made of plastic with an aluminium lining are non-recyclable; it would take 150 to 500 years for these capsules to break down in landfill.
Most coffee capsules are made of aluminium with a foil lid. An alarming quantity are going to landfill daily and they can be recycled. Read about the environmental considerations of aluminium here.
Capsules made of paper are biodegradable.
Hamburg, Germany has banned coffee capsule machines in government-run buildings citing pollution and waste.
Gift your capsule coffee-making machine to someone in a city/town where there is a capsule recycling programme.
When considering buying a coffee-maker choose one from which the only waste element is the coffee grounds as these can go on your garden.
Only buy refillable coffee capsules or, next best, biodegradable/compostable capsules.
Refillable coffee capsules are available for some machines.
Clean, pure aluminium pods can be recycled at the Whanganui Resource Recovery Centre.
Some coffee companies have post-back programmes to recycle capsules.
TerraCycle in New Zealand collects a range of empty coffee capsules for recycling and offers a post-back recycling programme. (There is not yet a central collection point in Whanganui.)
Please keep from landfill.