When you think of Swedish design, what comes to mind? A minimalist sofa? A lake house perched on the edge of a Scandinavian fjord? Chances are, thoughts of used coffee grounds and recycled aluminium are likely far from mind, but thanks to a new partnership between coffee machine maker, Nespresso , and Swedish bicycle brand, Vélosophy; the way you think about the small luxuries in your life is about to change.
The two companies have partnered to create a classic town bike – the Vélosophy RE:CYCLE – made from aluminium that has been recycled from used Nespresso coffee pods. To be sure, a lot of coffee was drunk in order to bring you this stylish and eco-friendly creation.
"Before we reached out to Nespresso, I did some research," said Jimmy Östholm, CEO and Founder of Vélosophy. "I learned that Nespresso cultivated values very much like our own, and I could see that they firmly took on tough challenges in the sustainability area."
"[RE:CYCLE] is beautifully designed, responsibly sourced and sustainably made. It's an art object, but the true purpose is to be used every day. Its contemporary in the sense that we have history with this classic shape, [but we also look to] the future with sustainable production and well thought-through functionality. I'm really proud of this bike - it's very special."
The convenience of the now ubiquitous coffee pod machines such as Nespresso has meant another piece of inevitable waste as you send expired pod after pod to the garbage. For Nespresso – who offer a pod recycling service - and the team at Vélosophy, turning one luxury like this into another has always been the key to creating a better world.
"We've made our bikes with recycled aluminium from the beginning; since day one," said Östholm. "We have one of the highest rates of recycled aluminium content in our bikes in the entire cycling industry.
"For Vélosophy, we're doing as much as we can today and we're proving that recycled aluminium can be used to make great bikes. It took 18 months to design the [RE:CYCLE] bike and plan the collaboration, but the rest, as they say, is history."
Big things, small beginnings
The partnership with Vélosophy came about via a start-up pitching initiative; an extension of Nespresso's own recycling system that converts used pods into reclaimed aluminium. The fit with Vélosophy – a company that donates a bicycle to a female student in Africa for every bike sold or rented out – became a mutually beneficial alignment of values and one that taps into a very human experience.
"Most people have their first experience on a bike when they're a kid," said Östholm. "When you're a kid with a bike, it really expands the area where you can play - and that means freedom. The freedom that follows that first experience is such an essential feeling.
"Then [there's] the joy of effortless speed and appreciating the environment - you just feel so alive. It's such a basic feeling; it's purely human. Of course, it is good for your health and good for the environment, but I think for most of us, it's an emotional memory that connects us to cycling."
It's a coffee, but not as you know it
Taking luxury for granted in a western world is something that can be forgiven. With many of us being largely unaffected by the eventual comprises that come from convenient packaging, knowing that our future is in the hands of people like Östholm and the folks at Nespresso is comforting.
"I don't like to tell other people what to do, but I've paid attention to this area in my life and I've challenged how I personally consume," said Östholm. "I think one solution is to buy less and choose well."
"That principle could be applied to every aspect in life, because if you take a moment to reflect on what you are doing, or thinking of buying, having that in mind is a good start. Quality is really essential to trying to live in a sustainable way."
As way of homage to this simple ethos, the RE:CYCLE features a bell shaped like a Nespresso capsule, a basket cup holder to carry your cup of Joe and a deep purple finish, reminiscent of the Nespresso Arpeggio coffee pod. These small reminders of its luxurious evolution are with you every time you take your seat on your RE:CYCLE and pedal into the distance.