Ipswich and Exeter to collect coffee pods at kerbside

Residents of Ipswich and Exeter will be able to recycle plastic and aluminium coffee pods at the kerbside from 24 January after their councils teamed up with not-for-profit service Podback.

Podback sends pods to be recycled by the Tandom Metallurgical Group Ltd in Congleton, near Stoke-on-Trent (picture: Podback)

Established by Nestle and Jacob Douwe Egberts UK, Podback provides “simple and easy ways” to recycle pods of participating brands, such as Nespresso, Nescafe Dolce Gusto and Tassimo.

Residents who register for the service in each of the cities will receive two rolls of special collection bags provided by Podback and an instructional leaflet, plus a caddy if they use Nescafe Dolce Gusto coffee pods.

Exeter and Ipswich join Oxford city council, Cheltenham borough council and South Derbyshire district council among authorities with a kerbside collection for coffee pods provided by Podback.

Cllr Phil Smart, Ipswich borough council’s portfolio holder for environment and climate change, said: “With the introduction of flexible working and more people working from home and drinking coffee, the expansion of the recycling service to collect coffee pods couldn’t come at a better time.

“Recycling is one of the easiest things we can do to protect the environment, and this scheme with Podback will offer our residents a simple way to recycle their coffee pods and help create a more circular economy for our waste and resources, with more materials being recycled and reused.”

Coffee pods

The Podback scheme launched in selected cities across the country in April 2021 (see letsrecycle.com story).

UK consumers have bought 1.2 billion coffee pods since January 2021, Podback says (picture: Shutterstock)

Once collected, coffee pods are sent for reprocessing to separate the packaging from the coffee grounds.

The grounds are used to create soil improver and biogas via anaerobic digestion.

Aluminium is processed by Tandom Metallurgical Group Ltd in Congleton, near Stoke-on-Trent, while plastic pods are reprocessed by Roydon in Swinton, near Manchester.

The plastic and aluminium are then transformed into new products such as garden furniture, beverage cans, spare parts for cars and other everyday objects.

Since January 2021, UK consumers have bought 1.2 billion coffee pods, Podback says.

Research conducted by YouGov on behalf of Podback found that more than a third (35%) of coffee pod drinkers were unaware that pods could be recycled, while 90% said they would like to be able to recycle their coffee pods through their usual household recycling.

Ipswich

Dedicated areas will be installed in bin stores at flats in Ipswich based on demand so that residents who receive communal waste and recycling collections can still use the service.

Rick Hindley was Alupro’s executive director from 2007 to May 2021, when he became Podback’s first executive director

Rick Hindley, Podback’s executive director, said: “This new collaboration with Ipswich borough council to introduce coffee pod collections through the existing kerbside waste and recycling services will make it even easier for consumers to participate at home whilst helping the council increase the amount it recycles.”

Ipswich borough council represents an estimated population of close to 140,000 and had a household waste recycling rate of 33% in the 2020/21 financial year.

Exeter

Exeter city council will collect the bags on a weekly basis as part of normal recycling and household waste collections.

Cllr David Harvey, lead councillor for city management, said the service supported the council’s aims to reduce waste, increase recycling and tackle climate change.

“This is great news for Exeter,” he said. “We’ve been looking for a recycling solution for these pods for some time, so it’s fantastic that they can now be recycled from the kerbside.

“Podback is funding the service, so it is cost neutral.”

Representing an estimated population of nearly 130,000, Exter had a recycling rate of 27.8% in 2020/21.

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