Coffee capsule machines have become the darling of the coffee world, giving home brewers their espresso at a push of a button. However, disposing of the capsules has become an environmental concern that many environmentally-conscious coffee aficionados avoid them with a passion.
Enter Bacolod-based social enterprise Artisans of Hope, which shows that one coffee lover's trash can be someone else’s treasure.
Artisans of Hope is the livelihood program of the Negrense Volunteers for Change (NVC) Foundation. Millie Kilayko, one of the founders and current president of the NVC Foundation, learned to make mosaics from a friend, often working until the wee hours of the morning. Eventually, she wanted to make mosaics transcend beyond just something to pass the time.
That's when she got the idea of finding and teaching artists the craft to give them work. Kilayko has been providing livelihood to indigent craftsmen who come to the workshop to work on the mosaics.
Four years ago, when the Nespresso machines started gaining popularity, a volunteer dropped off a sack of used capsules and Kilayko thought of using these in their products. They found that since the used aluminum pods were colorful, pliable, and had a distinct metallic luster, they were a great material to cut up and use in their décor and products.
The first products made with the used coffee pods were Christmas tree balls that sparkle when hung from the tree.
The capsules were then use in making religious items and bigger artworks, sometimes in combination with their traditional materials of eggshell and tiles.
They've even used the upcycled coffee pods as accents for fashion accessories like earrings, necklaces, and beaded mask holders.
They can also make custom commissioned pieces, like these Masskara ornaments for a big store opening in Bacolod.
Those looking to dispose of their pods can drop them off at the Nespresso Shops who work closely with the NVC Foundation. These can also be sent directly to their workshop in Bacolod City.
As the NVC Foundation is a non-profit organization, all the proceeds go back into their advocacies which they have been supporting since they were founded in 2010. One of these is the production of Mingo, a malunggay-based food supplement ideal for children 3 years old and below. All the malunggay is sourced from Negros farmers who grow it on heritage farms, for which the foundation provides technology and farming input like fertilizers.
The NVC Foundation and Artisans of Hope have a booth at the 36th Negros Trade Fair at the Glorietta Activity Center until September 25. More details are available at the NVC Foundation's website.