Italian coffee brand Lavazza is replacing its current range of coffee capsules for home use with environmentally friendly ones, but its research indicates a degree of UK consumer confusion about what they can and can’t recycle.

Lavazza claims its new Eco Caps can break down into compost in just six months, but the time span is only achievable when the capsules are “industrially composted”, the Guardian reported, meaning users can’t simply throw them on a domestic compost heap.

So Lavazza has teamed up with waste collection service TerraCycle to set up a network of public access drop-off points where consumers can take their used capsules; alternatively, if council rules permit, users could add them to the food waste collections many councils already operate.

The brand’s research indicates that a third of Britons throw used coffee capsules into the bin because they don’t know how to properly dispose of them; the mix of different materials – including plastic, foil and aluminium – can be confusing.

And while brands will generally indicate on their packaging how it can be disposed of, 72% of those in Lavazza’s survey said they felt overwhelmed when trying to understand the various recycling symbols.

The recycling of glass, however, has been easy to understand and in the UK kerbside and bottle-bank systems collect 67% of all glass bottles and jars for recycling.

But a planned Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) for drinks containers due to be introduced in Scotland may have some unintended consequences. The DRS applies to both glass and plastic containers, but Packaging News reported that similar schemes in other European countries have resulted in a shift away from glass to plastic – including a 60% increase in plastic consumption in Germany.

British Glass, the glass industry trade body, warned that such a scheme could threaten the viability of existing kerbside and bottle-bank glass recycling.

“A deposit return scheme is an economically inefficient, high risk, complex and difficult way to collect glass,” argued Dave Dalton, CEO of British Glass.

And indeed, a recent YouGov survey found that just 9% of Britons thought financial incentives an appropriate approach to encouraging recycling.

But 83% thought more should be done to encourage the practice, especially around the lack of local facilities, councils not collecting certain types of items from the kerbside and confusing rules.

Sourced from Guardian, Packaging News, YouGov; additional content by WARC staff