“Without Swiss Post, recycling capsules would be a more complicated process”
Nespresso Switzerland is celebrating an important milestone this year as its free “Recycling at Home” service turns 10. Since its launch, Swiss Post has played an important role in the recycling process for used aluminium capsules. Interview with Jean-Luc Valleix, Managing Director of Nespresso Switzerland.
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Swiss Post delivers letters and parcels from A to B throughout Switzerland. But did you know that certain items travel in the opposite direction, that is to say from your letter boxes to the company’s logistics centers? Nespresso can attest to that. In fact, this Swiss brand relies on the support of Swiss Post in order to recycle its used aluminium capsules. Its free “Recycling at Home” service turns 10 this year. The perfect opportunity to look back at this local partnership and the company’s commitment to sustainability.
Mr Valleix, how would you describe Swiss Post?
Aside from being an institution, Swiss Post is a timeless, reassuring organization that’s important to the community and serves the general public, while it also adapts to the outside world. It does this on a consistent basis, and comes up with new services to respond as best as it can to the needs of all its customers, whether they are companies like Nespresso or the general public.
Your “Recycling at Home” service, which is turning 10 this year, illustrates this ability to adapt that both companies share: could you explain how this service works?
It’s very simple. All you have to do is put your used aluminium capsules in the white recycling bag that we have created for this purpose, and then put the bag in your letter box. The bag comes with a detachable yellow strip that should be left sticking out of the letter box to let the mail carrier know they can collect the bag. This service makes life really easy for our customers.
Once collected, the bags enter Swiss Post’s logistics network and are taken to the Barec Group recycling center in Moudon, where the aluminium is separated from the coffee grounds in the Nespresso capsules. The aluminium is then melted down and turned into new aluminium products such as cans, car and aircraft parts, or iconic Swiss products like the Caran d’Ache pens. Mixed with organic matter, the coffee grounds are turned into biogas to generate electricity and heat.’ As for the remaining residue, or “digestate”, this is turned into natural fertiliser for farmers.
What role does Swiss Post play in this recycling process?
A crucial role. Swiss Post focuses on the most important stage of the recycling process to my mind, that of collecting the capsules. Thanks to its network and its collecting capacity, Swiss Post facilitates the entire process, and contributes to the recycling of about 70% of Nespresso capsules in Switzerland today. I always say there’s a major difference between selling a recyclable product and the recycling process itself. The difference lies in the availability of a sustainable collection network, which is the result of our collaboration with Swiss Post. Without this partnership, it would be more difficult to recycle these capsules.
How would you assess your partnership with Swiss Post?
It’s a really beneficial relationship. We’re in constant touch with Swiss Post. We realize that, much like us, they are a company that puts its customers and their needs first. This customer-focused approach is deeply ingrained in both our companies.
How important is sustainability within your company?
It’s one of our core values. Last year we celebrated the 30th anniversary of our recycling programme. In other words, this is something we’ve been concerned about since our beginnings. Various initiatives and certifications further reinforce this commitment: the triple A programmeTarget not accessible launched in 2003, the B Corp certificationTarget not accessible we obtained at the end of April and the “Recycling at Home” service are a few examples.
Lastly, what is the main thing that links Nespresso and Swiss Post?
Both are deeply Swiss companies at heart. They are proud of their origins and their history, they serve the general public and provide a high-quality service. Despite all they have achieved, they never stop trying to adapt to the outside world by also drawing on the cultural diversity of the country. In other words, they embrace both tradition and innovation as they develop.
Aged 62, Jean-Luc Valleix has been in charge of the Swiss market for Nespresso since 2020. His career has seen him help launch and develop several Nespresso branches, for instance in France. A father of two, the Nespresso Switzerland Managing Director particularly appreciates fine food and drink. His guilty pleasure? His indulgent afternoon coffee: “ Every day I make myself a cappuccino with bits of Speculoos biscuit on top of the froth. An absolute treat!”