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The empty capsules need to be treated in recycling plants that are properly equipped to handle aluminum capsules with left-over coffee still within them. Currently more than 45% of recycling plants have the fines recovery systems to eliminate smaller items. This results in used aluminum coffee capsules being passed through the rotary screen (Trommel) – due to their small size. They eventually wind up discarded in landfills since they still contain coffee inside.
Unfortunately, this represents an upward trend. In 2022, 80% of recycling plants in Europe and other continents will be required to install systems that allow for the recovery and recycling of these non-ferrous metal wastes – such as aluminum coffee capsules. They will no longer be allowed to be discarded in landfills.
As of 2022, European regulations require that all municipalities have incorporated a recycling container specifically designated for organic matter. In 2020, several European countries with municipalities of more than 5,000 inhabitants were required to have organic matter collection amounting to 81% of the population.