Nespresso x Vélosophy's Sustainable Bicycle
The Nespresso x Vélosophy RE:CYCLE: A Bike Made From 300 Recycled Nespresso Capsules
This is a collaborative blog post; I was invited to attend the launch of the Nespresso x Vélosophy bicycle on a press trip.
In August, I was invited to attend the launch of a special bicycle - Nespresso x Vélosophy RE:CYCLE: a minimalist, urban, and sustainably-produced bicycle.
From Coffee to Cardio
Made from materials which include around 300 used Nespresso capsules, the limited-edition bicycle by Swedish startup Vélosophy highlights the fact that Nespresso’s coffee capsules don’t have to be single-use and, in fact, are infinitely recyclable - with scope to become an innovative product that creates a positive social impact. Made from aluminum, the capsule's life doesn’t end with a cup of coffee. Capsules are dropped off at recycling points, Nespresso breaks them down, a process that otherwise take 150 years to decompose - and uses the aluminum to contribute to a new product. It is estimated that 25% of coffee capsules are recycled, and this is what the creation of RE:CYCLE is about: highlighting the possibility to recycle more - especially with Nespresso’s 122,000 recycling points globally.
On my trip to Sweden’s capital, Stockholm, I was lucky enough to speak with Jimmy Östholm - founder of Vélosophy - who explained more about the project and his vision of the bike. In addition to this, we tried some of the latest-released flavours from Nespresso including the Master Origin Nicaragua, and had a test-ride around Rosendals Trädgård, a beautiful garden inside what I’d describe as Stockholm’s equivalent to Hampstead Heath.
The Bicycle: RE:CYCLE
We were in Stockholm in mid-August and, while the weather wasn’t sweltering, the city looked beautiful in the sun - making the gardens of Rosendals come to life. I took a test model for a picturesque cycle through the orchards. It was amazing to know that the bicycle I was sat on was made out of a variety of materials which included 300 Nespresso capsules that were holding coffee not so long ago. The bike comes in a purple colour - a nod to Nespresso’s Arpeggio blend. The bell has the subtle shape and markings of a coffee capsule. The saddle is by Brooks, made from natural rubber and organic cotton and, to cement its place as a solid, every-day type of bicycle, it comes with a carrier basket with two straps for a Nespresso travel mug - or a water bottle or two.
One of the reasons I was keen to support this project is that, for every bike sold via their online store (Vélosophy doesn’t have a physical store, to save product costs), Vélosophy donates a bicycle to a school girl in a developing country through their ‘One for One’ project, on the basis that schoolgirls’ attendance increases by up to 30% when given a bicycle and academic performance by up to 60%, potentially leading to a stronger financial position to improve their quality of life.
Jimmy, a former IKEA communications manager, was keen to show that the purpose of the collaborative project with Nespresso was to highlight how it is possible to take an easily-recyclable product and give the capsules a second life. This isn’t a new idea from Nespresso: they’ve previously collaborated with Caran D’ache producing a beautiful pen - again made from recycled capsules. My favourite quote from Jimmy during the trip was the summing up of a concept that I regularly discuss with Peppe - why isn’t ‘ethical’ the benchmark when it comes to luxury? “Premium today is about having a positive impact on the world”, Jimmy explained, contentedly. Very, very well said!
Jimmy’s main hope for this collaborative project between the two forward-thinking brands is that it inspires other designers to start using recycled aluminum more in their designs, embracing the infinitely-recyclable attribute of the metal. While there are still a lot of mechanical steps to take to process the used capsules - from shredding, washing out the coffee (with water), burning off varnish and re-smelting the remaining aluminum, a report from Bath University suggests that this is still the most environmentally-friendly type of ‘quick’ coffee, considering the whole process of collecting, packaging, consuming, and recycling coffee and its packaging.
A Step Forward For Sustainability
The bike sells for £1170 on the Vélosophy website. It’s one of the most sustainable luxury products I’ve laid eyes on - not only because of the materials, but also because the bikes themselves encourage us to cycle instead of drive or take other methods of transport!
There are many companies out there pledging a One-for-One-style promise, like shoe companies giving a pair to a person in need for every one sold, but Vélosophy is the only bicycle company doing the same. Add to this the fact that the bicycle itself is made from recycled materials, and what we have, in my opinion, is a real trailblazer of the luxury world. I hope it inspires other brands to create a positive social impact by both innovating and donating to those in need.
For a further insight on my trip to Sweden with Nespresso and Vélosophy, click here.
Thanks for reading!