Bicycle made from 300 Nespresso pods takes recycling to a whole new level

Vélosophy

Single-use coffee pods might make a good cup of joe, but they're detrimental to the environment.

"Coffee pods are one of the best examples of unnecessary single-use plastics that are polluting our planet," John Hocevar, the campaign director of Greenpeace USA, an environmental nonprofit organization, told USA Today. "Many end up getting incinerated, dumping poison into our air, water and our soil."

Currently, 29,000 single-use coffee pods are thrown away each minute. You have to ask yourself, is it worth filling up the landfills to satisfy your caffeine habit? While the aluminum capsules are recyclable, it's not as easy as tossing them in the bin. Instead, you typically have to take them a designated collection point created by the brand.

But Nespresso has taken it one step further by using its recycled pods to make a bicycle, illustrating the potential for repurposing the often thrown out by-product of its coffee.


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The company partnered with Swedish lifestyle bike brand Vélosophy to create the design, dubbed RE:CYCLE, "a perfect balance of sustainability and style, designed to illustrate the potential of recyclable aluminum and motivate Nespresso fans to recycle their capsules," according to a press release.

The limited-edition RE:CYCLE is the brainchild of former Ikea communications manager and current entrepreneur,Jimmy Östholm, who founded Vélosophy. It retails for $1,446 on the Vélosophy website. Each bike is made out of 300 Nespresso pods, and yes, it has a cup holder. For each bicycle sold, Vélosophywill donate a bicycle to a girl in Ghana so she can get to school.

Östholmapproached Nespresso about acquiring recycled aluminum after being inspired by the company's recycling campaigns. Östholmsays it was a bit of a challenge to shape the lightweight aluminum into a sturdy and safe bicycle, but he soon figured it out. "I wanted to start a conversation about aluminum," Östholm told Fast Company. "I think many consumers are interested in knowing where their materials come from, but there is just less awareness about aluminum as, for example, plastic."

RELATED: Horrified by how much plastic is in the ocean, this girl ramped up her recycling game

Because the material can be repurposed indefinitely, Nespresso encourages its customers to make sure they aren't single use products by recycling them. If they end up in the landfill, they'll take 150 years to decompose. But if you recycle them, you can have a full bicycle on your hands in a fraction of that time. As of right now, Wired estimates 25% of Nespresso pods are recycled.

This isn't the only time Nespresso pods have been turned into something other than a cup of coffee. They've been used to create Swiss Army knives, ballpoint pens, and even other Nespresso pods.

If you want to recycle your Nespresso pods and consume your coffee guilt-free, you can take your pods to one of the company's collection points. There are 122,000 locations across the world. Once turned over, they will be processed by a recycling plant where the aluminum from the pods will be separated from the coffee grounds. The coffee grounds are then turned into topsoil, compost, and even biogas.

And who knows? Maybe you'll be able to ride your former coffee pods to work one day.

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Courtesy of Macy's

In many ways, 18-year-old Idaho native, Hank Cazier, is like any other teenager you've met. He loves chocolate, pop music, and playing games with his family. He has lofty dreams of modeling for a major clothing company one day. But one thing that sets him apart may also jeopardize his future is his recent battle against a brain tumor.

Cazier was diagnosed in 2015. When he had surgery to remove the tumor, he received trauma to his brain and lost some of his motor functionality. He's been in physical, occupational, and speech therapy ever since. The experience impacted Cazier's confidence and self-esteem, so he's been looking for a way to build himself back up again.

"I wanted to do something that helped me look forward to the future," he says.

Enter Make-A-Wish, a nonprofit organization that grants wishes for children battling critical illnesses, providing them a chance to make the impossible possible. The organization partnered with Macy's to raise awareness and help make those wishes a reality. The hope is that the "wish effect" will improve their quality of life and empower them with the strength they need to overcome these illnesses and look towards the future. That was a particularly big deal for Cazier, who had been feeling like so many of his wishes weren't going to be possible because of his critical illness.

"In the beginning, it was hard to accept that it would be improbable for me to accomplish my previous goals because my illness took away so many of my physical abilities," says Cazier. His wish of becoming a model also seemed out of reach.

But Macy's and Make-A-Wish didn't see it like that. Once they learned about Cazier's wish, they knew he had to make it come true by inviting him to be part of the magical Macy's holiday shoot in New York.

Courtesy of Macy's

Make-A-Wish can't fulfill children's wishes without the generosity of donors and partners like Macy's. In fact, since 2003, Macy's has given more than $122 million to Make-A-Wish and impacted the lives of more than 2.9 million people.

Cazier's wish experience was beyond what he could've imagined, and it filled him with so much joy and confidence. "It is like waking up and discovering that you have super powers. It feels amazing!" he exclaims.

One of the best parts about the day for him was the kindness everyone who helped make it happen showed him.

"The employees of Macy's and Make-A-Wish made me feel welcome, warm, and cared for," he says. "I am truly grateful that even though they were busy doing their jobs, they were able to show kindness and compassion towards me in all of the little details."

He also got to spend part of the shoot outdoors, which, as someone who loves climbing, hiking, and scuba-diving but has trouble doing those activities now, was very welcome.

Courtesy of Macy's

Overall, Cazier feels he grew a lot during his modeling wish and is now emboldened to work towards a better quality of life. "I want to acquire skills that help me continue to improve in these circumstances," he says.

You can change the lives of more kids like Cazier just by writing a letter to Santa and dropping it in the big red letterbox at Macy's (you can also write and submit one online). For every letter received before Dec. 24, 2019, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. By writing a letter to Santa, you can help a child replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy, and anxiety with hope.

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