Join the growing number of local authorities collecting coffee pods for recycling!

Mar 22, 2024

Podback is working to provide coffee pod consumers with simple and convenient ways to recycle.  Recent trials at Household Waste and Recycling Centres (HWRCs) have proved popular with residents: One trial in Berkshire saw 10 tonnes of pods collected within the first six months. 

Why should we be thinking about collecting used coffee pods?

More than 1.2 billion pods are sold in the UK every year[1], and 30% of households own a coffee pod machine.  A recent survey of pod consumers revealed that 36% used pods every day. Our daily website traffic indicates a high demand for information on how to recycle coffee pods, with thousands of searches coming from all over the UK.

How easy is it to add Podback to our HWRCs?

Podback provides separate collection containers for plastic and aluminium pods (coffee, tea and hot chocolate pods are all accepted).  We also provide signage for the recycling area and have a range of marketing assets which can be used to promote the service via your website, social media channels and marketing literature. Residents simply save their pods at home, then tip them loose into the relevant container when they visit the Recycling Centre.  

What is the financial cost to a local authority?

The simple answer to this question, is “zero”.

Podback funds the service, supplying recycling containers for the pods and organising onward logistics to the reprocessors. In addition, we provide marketing materials including site signage and assets to help you promote Podback to residents.

What are the benefits to the local authority?

Because of their size, weight and the coffee contained within them, pods are not suited to conventional recycling collection and sorting facilities.  Collecting pods with Podback demonstrates to residents you are committed to finding solutions for “hard-to-recycle” materials.

Promoting a new service helps to highlight and remind residents about all the recycling services already available to them; and being able to offer another service at no additional cost is also a good news story. 

Pods are not classed as packaging so do not fall under the jurisdiction of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR). However, partnering with Podback allows local authorities to experience the principles of EPR in practice, and work with leading consumer brands.

What happens to the pods?

All pods collected by Podback are reprocessed in the UK. Aluminium pods are sent to Cheshire. They are shredded to remove the coffee, then remelted. The metal is used by manufacturers of beverage cans and automotive components.

Plastic pods go to Yorkshire: Following removal of the coffee they are reprocessed to create a polymer, which is used to make products for the building sector.  

The coffee grounds are sent to anaerobic digestion, creating renewable energy (biogas) and soil improver.

Our short video explains the recycling journey of coffee pods: Click here to watch

Ready to start a conversation about adding pods to your kerbside service? 

Contact our Partnerships Development Team

[1] Neilson Total Coffee Database

2 Survey of 2,032 pod consumers conducted for Podback in June 2022 by Resource Futures

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