The two biggest players in the United Kingdom coffee industry, Nestlé and Jacobs Douwe Egberts (JDE) UK, have joined forces to create Podback, a recycling program for coffee pods.
Podback is a cross-industry collaboration within the coffee sector, providing several easy ways for UK consumers to recycle their coffee pods.
Launching in early 2021, the scheme will initially cover brands including Nespresso, Nescafé Dolce Gusto, and Tassimo – representing a large part of the UK market. Podback’s ambition is to expand the program to include all coffee brands that use plastic or aluminium pods in the UK.
“As co-founders of the scheme, as well as pioneers of the minimal-waste portioned coffee system, we are excited to build on our strong existing recycling services already in place. Our ambition is to create a powerful end-to-end recycling solution, available to all, and Podback demonstrates our commitment towards achieving this important goal,” says Guillaume Chesneau, Managing Director, Nespresso UK and Ireland, Board Director of Podback.
“We are working closely with manufacturers, retailers and local authorities and calling upon them to join us and ensure the scheme has maximum impact.”
The move comes as new research reveals confusion amongst consumers, with more than a third (35 per cent) of coffee pod drinkers unaware that pods can be recycled, and nine in 10 stating that they’d like to be able to recycle their coffee pods through their usual household recycling.
“We are proud to be a co-founder of Podback in the UK, working to ensure that every pod enjoyed, is easily recycled,” says Toby Bevans, Marketing Director, JDE UK and Ireland, Board Director of Podback.
“Together with Nestlé, we are calling on the entire industry to put commercial rivalries aside and collaborate, working together with other brands and retailers to make it as easy as possible for our consumers to recycle their pods.”
Podback will expand recycling options for coffee pods in three ways:
- Collect+: Consumers will be able to take their used coffee pods to their nearest Collect+ delivered by Yodel drop-off point. There are more than 6500 drop-off points in local stores across the UK, open seven days a week.
- Kerbside collection: In an effort to make recycling easier for consumers, coffee pods will be collected alongside their regular household waste and recycling. This has not previously been possible within the UK’s waste infrastructure. Exeter City Council, Cheltenham Borough Council, and South Derbyshire District Council are in advanced discussions with Podback to become the first confirmed partners, meaning that from launch, over 330,000 residents living in these areas will be able to have their pods collected alongside their household waste and recycling. Podback is in live discussions with several other local authorities to have collections operational at launch, with ambitious plans to expand across the UK.
- Retailer ‘handover at home’: Podback is in ongoing discussions with retailers to facilitate a ‘handover at home’ option, meaning that consumers can have their used coffee pods collected for recycling when they have their groceries delivered. While this is unlikely to be ready for launch, Podback partners are working hard to make this a reality as soon as possible.
“We’re pleased to be working with Podback, as one of the scheme’s first local authority partners, to offer our residents a simple way to recycle their coffee pods from their homes, particularly now many of us are doing more home working,” says Councillor Chris Coleman, Cabinet Member Clean and Green Environment, Cheltenham Borough Council.
“Recycling is one of the easiest steps we can all take to protect the environment, and we’re looking forward to bringing this scheme to our residents early next year.”
Collected pods will be taken to re-processors in the UK to separate the packaging from the used coffee grounds before being recycled into a range of everyday products.
“There is power in collaboration and we know that by joining forces we can have even greater influence over the recycling rate of pods,” says Richard Howatson, Business Unit Manager, Nescafé Dolce Gusto and Starbucks at Home.
“Over the months ahead, we’ll be working closely with local authorities and other partners to make this a reality through Podback – meaning coffee drinkers will have a simple and effective way to recycle their pods, whichever brand they choose.”