Vélosophy, a Swedish bicycle and lifestyle start-up brand, teamed up with Nespresso to create Re:Cycle, a bike made from recycled aluminum Nespresso pods. Jimmy Östholm, founder and CEO of Vélosophy, has used recycled aluminum in his bicycles from the time the company started three years ago. People didn’t seem too interested in the fact that the bikes were made from recycled aluminum, so he decided to make things a bit more interesting.
Spreading the Word
“I wanted to start a conversation about aluminum,” Östholm says. “I think many consumers are interested in knowing where their materials come from, but there is just less awareness about aluminum as, for example, plastic.” The sleek, seven-gear bicycle is made from 300 recycled Nespresso pods and its bright purple hue matches the color of a Nespresso Arpeggio capsule. Old coffee makers are being replaced with Nespresso machines all over the world and Östholm hopes the familiarity of the common breakfast libation will pique interest about the bike’s origins, and promote ideas about a circular economy where nothing is wasted.
Early on, when Vélosophy bikes were made from plain old recycled aluminum, there wasn’t a specific story to tell about what products the material was in its previous life. With the Arpeggios model, the story starts telling itself before the customer even asks. “The difference now is that I know these bikes used to be Nespresso pods, and I can share that with my customers,” Östholm said.
Nespresso has worked with several different companies to turn old pods into new products. For instance, they collaborated with Victorinox to create a Swiss Army knife, which is called the Pioneer to celebrate the two companies as pioneers of recycling. The product page has a close up of the knife’s green scales and printed above it are the words, “I was once 24 cups of coffee.” Nespresso works with an industrial recycler to separate coffee grounds (which then get composted) from the aluminum pod, which then goes to a remelter to become secondary aluminum for new products.
Nespresso tries it’s hardest to encourage customers to recycle their used pods. A prepaid envelope is included with coffee capsule orders so that customers can send used pods back to the company to be recycled. This is especially important for those living in cities without equipment that sorts small, lightweight aluminum packaging. The company is working to try to change this, starting with New York. Thanks to its work with the Department of Sanitation in New York, city dwellers will be able to recycle their pods in curbside recycling programs starting this fall.
Guillarme Le Cunff, president and chief executive officer of Nespresso USA, wants to encourage customers to recycle their pods, rather than throw them in the trash. “With Vélosophy, we’ve transformed our capsules into a beautiful new bicycle,” he said. “With it, we hope to inspire more people to recycle.”