Hamburg, the second largest city in Germany, has banned coffee pods and other disposable products from its council buildings as part of a drive to reduce environmental waste.
Announced as part of a 150-page “Guide to Green Procurement”, the city introduced a ban on buying "certain polluting products or product components" with council money. The ban therefore includes bottled water and beer, chlorine-based cleaning products, air freshener, plastic plates and cutlery.
The report states: "These portion packs cause unnecessary resource consumption and waste generation, and often contain polluting aluminium.”
Jan Dube, spokesman for the Hamburg Department of the Environment and Energy, told the BBC: "The capsules can't be recycled easily because they are often made of a mixture of plastic and aluminium."
"It's 6g of coffee in 3g of packaging. We in Hamburg thought that these shouldn't be bought with taxpayers' money."
Around 10 per cent of Britons polled by The Grocer, a supermarket trade magazine, said they believed coffee pods are “very bad for the environment". However, 22 per cent of those asked said they owned a machine.
In the last year, more than £112m-worth of coffee pods were sold in the UK, up by a third from 2014, according to analysts. Sales are expected to treble by 2020, at which point coffee capsule sales are projected to overtake those of tea bags.
Nespresso, the most popular provider in Europe, first sold single-serving coffee pods in 1986. In the US, roughly 13 per cent of people drink a coffee made from a single-cup brewer every single day.
A Nespresso spokesperson said: "We are frequently asked whether individual portions and the use of aluminium contradict sustainability - in our opinion, the opposite is the case."
Last year, Caffe Vergnano, an Italian producer, developed a type of capsule that can decompose naturally.
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