Nespresso Battery: Feel-Good Phony Environmentalism And Greenwashing

nespresso battery greenwashing photo

Images Credit Mischer'Traxler
Dezeen and Inhabitat show the Nespresso Battery by Mischer'Traxler. It even was a winner in a competition called SUSTAIN.ABILITY.DESIGN. It purports to be green:

The content of all batteries (old capsules and coffee grounds) is about ~ 680 -700 Nespresso Capsules - an average year consumption of one person. All 17 batteries interconnected and well moistened would be able to power a small radio. The installation wants to encourage customers to bring their used Nespresso Capsules back to the Boutiques and other collection facilities, in order to be recycled.

Where do I start.


Nespresso is a coffee system where one buys coffee in a proprietary plastic and aluminum disposable pod that only runs in their machines. It is similar to Gillette's Tassimo system. In reaction to complaints from environmentalists and legislation, they have set up recycling systems in a number of European countries.

nespresso battery greenwashing closeup

Making the capsules work as a battery is trivial chemistry; this is no different than a potato battery and a pee battery and the tree battery: two metal strips and an electrolyte. The metal strips are consumed to make electricity, not the coffee and the electrolyte. They are not recycling nespresso parts, they are dissolving copper.

nespresso battery greenwashing detail

But the real problem of this is why the Pod People are doing it, to "encourage recycling." What they are really doing is putting a green gloss on I have called a design for unsustainability, . Nespresso promotes the ridiculous idea of setting up separate recycling facilities and encouraging people to bring the pods back, not likely when their customers are too damn lazy to grind a few beans of their choice and brew their coffee in a reusable filter and not get locked into buying "680 -700 Nespresso Capsules - an average year consumption of one person." That is a lot of little overpriced plastic and aluminum turds sold to people who care more about convenience than a decent cup of coffee, let alone the environment.

It is the worst kind of feel-good phony environmentalism and greenwashing of a fundamentally ridiculous and unsustainable product.

More images at Dezeen
More on coffee pods:
Design for Unsustainability: Tassimo Coffee
George Clooney's Coffee Choice Could be Better
Nespresso Recycling Program Launched in Spain (Video)

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