Green Deal on coffee pads and tea bags wins Global Recycling Heroes award

The Green Deal between the industry association Koffie & Thee Nederland, the Dutch government and the Dutch Waste Management Association (DWMA) was named winner of the Recycling Heroes 2023 award at the Global Recycling Day on Saturday 18 March. The separate collection of coffee pads and tea bags in food and garden waste in the Netherlands will generate about 88 million kilograms of additional compost each year.

Dutch Waste Management Association

Press release, ’s-Hertogenbosch, 20 March 2023

The Green Deal on coffee pads and tea bags is an initiative by the industry association Koffie & Thee Nederland, along with companies in the coffee and tea sector, the Dutch government and the DWMA, for the separate collection and treatment of coffee pads and tea bags – along with coffee filters – in the food and garden waste stream. Dutch coffee and tea producers have worked hard to make tea bags and coffee pads compostable. Currently, 93% of tea bags and almost 97% of coffee pads are compostable and can therefore be disposed of with food and garden waste. The aim is that eventually all companies operating in the Netherlands will switch to compostable coffee pads and tea bags. Coffee capsules are excluded from the Green Deal and must be disposed of with residual household waste because they are not biodegradable, or only partly biodegradable, in composting plants. The members of Koffie & Thee Nederland are working on a plan to separate all aluminium and plastic coffee capsules in the Netherlands from the household waste streams and recycle them.

There were 400 nominations from around the world for the Recycling Heroes award. Besides the Dutch Green Deal there were nine other winners. The winners each received a $1,000 prize.
‘We are delighted by this recognition,’ says Unico van Kooten, DWMA’s policy adviser for European affairs. ‘It shows the importance of cooperation across the supply chain. The Dutch coffee and tea sector has taken the signals from the market seriously and made its products more sustainable. They now lead the way in Europe. We hope this practical example will inspire similar developments internationally.’
Recycling will cut carbon emissions by a billion tonnes
The DWMA supports the Global Recycling Foundation (GRF) in its mission to combat climate change and expedite the transition to the circular economy. The Global Recycling Federation was established in October 2018 to promote and encourage recycling worldwide. The recycling and reuse of waste materials is crucial for the transition to the circular economy. Recycling can cut carbon dioxide emissions by more than a billion tonnes by 2030. The Dutch waste and recycling associations support the GRF because they are keen to contribute towards the worldwide transition from landfill to recycling. At the moment, most recyclable wastes in the world are dumped or landfilled, resulting in the loss of hundreds of millions of tonnes of raw materials that could otherwise be recycled.
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