Resource Use

Podback unveils kerbside coffee pod collection scheme in Oxford

Coffee pod reuse company Podback has collaborated with maintenance contractor ODS and Oxford City Council to provide a new recycling service to the city. Created in association with Nespresso, Nescafe, Dolce Gusto and Tassimo, the scheme will present local citizens with the option to recycle used coffee pods through the kerbside collection service.

In order to promote enrolment to the new service, informative leaflets will be posted to local residents in August, containing a guide demonstrating how to register in accordance with the variety of coffee pod being used.

Coffee podsAfter registration, local residents will be sent free collection bags from Podback, which, once filled with pods made from either plastic (predominantly polypropylene) or aluminium, should be placed atop either the blue recycling or green waste bin lid on bin day – this will commence on 9 August. A Collect+ service will be available to those who do not have access to kerbside collection, which will permit users to deposit filled bags at Collect+ stores.

Once collection has been completed, the used pods will be separated into coffee grounds and packaging at the reprocessing plant. After separation, the grounds will become either soil improver or renewable energy - in the form of biogas - through anaerobic digestion. The packaging will be turned into new recycled products, with plastic pods being used to produce pellets which are then repurposed by manufacturers to produce high grade plastic items, and the aluminium ingots being used to create beverage cans, car spare parts and other everyday objects.

Podback-commissioned research, conducted by YouGov, discovered that 35 per cent of surveyed users of coffee pods are currently unaware that the packaging is recyclable, and 90 per cent of users believe that pods believe that the packaging should be able to be recycled through standard household recycling.

Oxford City Council believes that the introduction of the scheme will help the district meet its target recycling rate of around 65 per cent for municipal waste by 2035, as outlined by Oxfordshires’ Environmental Partnership.

Podback states that it is ‘ambitious to grow the scheme much further’, with a top priority being bringing kerbside collections to more locations -- the company is currently in ongoing discussions with local authorities across the UK to make this a reality. Podback is currently operational in Cheltenham, South Derbyshire, Chichester and now Oxford. It has also welcomed its first independent coffee brand – CruKafe – meaning that its customers can now recycle their pods through the scheme.

Councillor Lubna Arshad, Cabinet Member for Parks and Waste Reduction: “With 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. Our residents want to do the right thing for the environment and recycle as much as possible.

“The coffee pods will be collected every week for recycling using both our household recycling and waste vehicles.”

Rick Hindley, Executive Director of Podback, said: “We want people to enjoy the quality and taste of coffee and have easy ways to recycle their pods. Consumers can already access local Collect + stores of which there are more than 6,500 in the UK, to drop off empty coffee pods.”

“However, this new collaboration with ODS and Oxford City Council, to introduce coffee pod collections through the existing kerbside recycling services, will make it even easier for consumers to participate at home whilst helping the Council increase the amount it recycles.”