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Nestlé and Jacobs Douwe Egberts UK (JDE UK, part of the JDE Peet’s Group), the two biggest players in the UK coffee industry, covering brands including Nespresso, Nescafé Dolce Gusto and Tassimo, have joined forces to create Podback: a first of its kind recycling programme for coffee pods.
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.
Launching in early 2021 the scheme will initially cover brands including Nespresso, Nescafé Dolce Gusto and Tassimo – representing the majority of the UK market – the ambition is to expand the programme to include all coffee brands that use plastic or aluminium pods in the UK.
The move comes as new research reveals confusion amongst consumers, with more than a third (35%) of coffee pod drinkers unaware that pods can be recycled, and nine in 10 (90%) stating that they’d like to be able to recycle their coffee pods through their usual household recycling.
Guillaume Chesneau, Managing Director, Nespresso UK and Ireland, 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.
“We are working closely with manufacturers, retailers and local authorities and calling upon them to join us and ensure the scheme has maximum impact.”
Toby Bevans, Marketing Director, JDE UK and Ireland, 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.”
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 a pioneering 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.
Councillor Chris Coleman, Cabinet Member Clean and Green Environment, 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. 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.
Coffee pod sales in the UK have surged in popularity in recent years as consumer preferences have developed to desire luxury coffee at home, yet new 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.
Richard Howatson, Business Unit Manager, Nescafé Dolce Gusto and Starbucks at Home, said: “There is power in collaboration and we know that by joining forces we can have even greater influence over the recycling rate of pods. 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.”