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A new Swedish bicycle is made from 300 recycled Nespresso pods

Aug. 13, 2019

After two years in development, RE:CYCLE, a stylish urban bicycle made from discarded Nespresso pods, is ready to roll.

Developed by Swedish start-up Vélosophy in collaboration with Nespresso, the limited edition model retails for €1,290 ($1,446). It showcases the creative possibilities for the afterlife for the billions of single-use coffee pods discarded around the world every year.

RE:CYCLE is Nespresso’s latest attempt at expressing its commitment to fostering a circular economy. The Nestlé-owned company uses aluminum in its capsules, a material that can be melted down and repurposed infinitely. It has poured resources into encouraging customers to recycle their Nespresso pods, which have previously been reincarnated as Swiss Army knives, fancy pens, and new coffee capsules. But these efforts, which come at a time of increased criticism of single-use products, have yet to be fully embraced by customers.

Recycling isn’t rocket science, right?

RE:CYCLE is the brainchild of Jimmy Östholm, a former IKEA communications manager turned bike entrepreneur. Intrigued by Nespresso’s recycling campaigns, Östholm inquired about the possibility of obtaining some of its recycled aluminum. The greatest technical challenge, Östholm says, was finding a way to convert the lightweight aluminum into a material rigid enough to meet bicycle manufacturing safety standards. “It was not rocket science in any sense. It just took some time,” he explains.

The bike has a few design details that hint at its origin. The frame’s plum color echoes the packaging of Nespresso’s popular Arpeggio variant; its bell is in the shape of a coffee pod; and the carrier basket has two nifty straps for securing to-go coffee cups, among other things.

Östholm hopes other product designers might be inspired to work with recycled aluminum to offset the steady demand for single-use capsules. A recent study, commissioned by UK coffee start-up Halo, estimates that 56 billion single-use coffee capsules produced by various manufacturers each year will end up in landfills.

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