23 November 2020 by Joshua Doherty

Nestlé launches joint coffee pod recycling scheme

Nestlé has partnered with Jacobs Douwe Egberts UK to create a “first of its kind recycling programme for coffee pods”.

Pods being recycled at Tandom Metallurgical Group Ltd, in Congleton, near Stoke-on-Trent

The two companies own a number of coffee pod brands including Nespresso, Nescafé Dolce Gusto and Tassimo.

They have “joined forces” to create Podback: a first of its kind recycling programme for coffee pods.

As part of these plans, discussions have been ongoing with councils across the UK to have coffee pods collected at the kerbside.

According to a statement, Podback, a not-for-profit organisation, is the “UK’s first cross-industry collaboration of its kind within the coffee sector, providing several easy ways for UK consumers to recycle their coffee pods”.

Recycling options

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 6,500 drop-off points in local stores across the UK, open seven days a week.

Kerbside collection: 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, more than 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 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.

‘Simple’

Councillor Chris Coleman, cabinet member environment at Cheltenham borough council, said: “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.

“We’re pleased to be working with Podback to offer residents a simple way to recycle their coffee pods”

Councillor Chris Coleman, 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.”

Launch

Launching in early 2021, the scheme will initially cover brands including Nespresso, Nescafé Dolce Gusto and Tassimo and the ambition is to expand the programme to include all coffee brands that use plastic or aluminium pods in the UK, the company said.

Guillaume Chesneau, managing director, Nespresso UK and Ireland and board director of Podback, said: “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.

Packaging

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.

Pods are predominately made of plastic, but also contain a small amount of aluminium.

While pods are currently technically recyclable, consumers must order a recycling bag for the pods and once full, print off a label and take it to a collection point, as explained below.

An infographic detailing how the current recycling system for Dolce Gusto coffee pods works

Popularity

Coffee pod sales in the UK have grown in popularity in recent years, but research conducted by YouGov on behalf of Podback has found that more than a third (35%) of coffee pod consumers are not aware that pods can currently be recycled.

Toby Bevans, marketing director, JDE UK and Ireland and board director of Podback, said: “We are proud to be a co-founder of Podback in the UK, working to ensure that every pod enjoyed, is easily recycled.

“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.”

Local Authorities who might be interested in partnering with Podback and would like to find out more should contact Freya.Rose@eunomia.co.uk.

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