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Innovative recycling for coffee pods

Podback is making it easier for coffee lovers to recycle 
Podback recycling
Recent research has found a consumer demand for easier ways to dispose of recyclable coffee capsules, as many remain unaware of how to go about it – or even that it is possible.

We have joined with Dutch company Jacobs Douwe Egberts (JDE) to create Podback, a first-of-its-kind coffee pod recycling system for the UK market. There is power in collaboration, and we know that by joining forces, we can have even greater influence over the recycling rate of pods.

Addressing consumer demand for easier pod disposal

Podback is a brand-new scheme designed to enable coffee capsules to be recycled more conveniently, with the aim of increasing the recycling rate of pods. Nespresso and Nescafé Dolce Gusto are both involved in the creation and rollout of Podback, along with JDE UK brands L'Or and Tassimo. Starbucks at Home and CruKafe have also joined the effort.

Podback capsule recycling

Nespresso recycling journey infographic

On average, since one third of people who use coffee pods do not know that they can be recycled, and nine out of ten would like to be able to recycle their pods through their usual household recycling, Podback aims to fill this demand gap.

Integrating coffee capsule recycling with existing consumer behaviors

With Podback, consumers can either take their used pods to one of more than 6 500 drop-off points in local stores across the UK, or have them collected alongside their regular household waste using a recycling bag available from the Podback website.

After collection, coffee pod materials are separated from the used coffee grounds. The plastic is then converted to pellets that can be used to produce other plastic items, and the aluminum is converted to ingots that can become beverage cans, car parts or other everyday objects.

Nine out of ten coffee pod users would like to be able to recycle their pods through their usual household recycling.

Creating a model for future programs

Podback's ultimate aim is not only to make recycling easy for consumers, but also to make the process as streamlined as possible for local authorities. The intention is eventually to include a wide range of pods made of plastic, aluminum or both.

Podback also provides an effective blueprint for cross-industry collaboration to tackle waste, something that could be replicated for other waste categories in the future.