Recycling coffee pods

Podback service, bag orders, collections and other common questions

Click a link below to find out more about:

The Podback service

What brand of pods are included as part of Podback?

Aluminium and plastic pods from participating Podback member brands can be recycled with Podback.

Together these brands represent over 80% of the UK market. Podback’s ambition is to expand the programme to include all coffee pod brands using plastic or aluminium pods in the UK.

If your brand is not currently a member, why not contact them and suggest they get involved?

Why do I need to tell you what pods I use?

Pod manufacturers make pods from both aluminium and plastic.  As these are sent to different recycling facilities it is important that they are collected separately using the correct Podback kerbside bags.

Who pays for the Podback recycling service?

Podback is a not-for-profit service, funded by the coffee pod brands.  All funding for the new coffee pod collection service is provided by Podback.  It is an excellent way for us to expand our recycling service at no additional cost to residents.

Bag orders and delivery

How do I order free Podback kerbside recycling bags?

You will need to sign up for the Podback service to order Podback bags. If you use NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto pods, you will also be offered a storage caddy when you first create your online account.

I use both plastic and aluminium pods; can I get bags for both materials?

Yes, you can. It is important that the plastic and aluminium pods are collected separately, as they are sent to different locations within the UK to be recycled.

If your household regularly uses both aluminium and plastic pods, the easiest option is to create two accounts, one for plastic and one for aluminium, using different email addresses. You can then order the appropriate bags when needed.

How long will it take for the recycling bags to arrive?

Bags are sent by Royal Mail and should arrive within 7 to 10 working days. Once you have your bags, you can start using them straight away.

I haven’t received my bags from Podback which I ordered. What do I do?

Your bags should have been sent to you within 7 to 10 working days. If you still haven’t received them, please contact Podback directly to inform them of the issue. They will be able to assist and ensure you receive your bags promptly. You can contact them via the Podback website.

How many bags will I receive?

You will be sent two rolls of bags when you first sign for the kerbside recycling service. There are 13 recycling bags per roll, so 26 in total. This is typically sufficient to last a household for six months. When you need more bags, you order them directly through your online Podback account.

Why do I need a caddy for the Nescafé Dolce Gusto pods?

These pods tend to hold more liquid. The caddy enables excess liquid to drain more easily and help users to store pods between collections.

Full instructions on how to use you caddy are provided when you create your online Podback account.

Simply transfer the pods to the Podback kerbside recycling bag when they are ready for collection.

I have finished my supply of kerbside collection bags; how can I get more?

If you run out of bags, you can reorder by logging into your account on the Podback website.

Kerbside collections

Where and when should I put my bag out for collection?

Fill your bag as instructed. Place the bag(s) on top of your kerbside waste or recycling bin by 7am, on your normal collection day. ​Please do not place your coffee pods bags inside your bin as these will not be taken out by our crews.

If I put my bags out with my black household waste bin, will it get recycled?

Yes. The coffee pods you put out on top of your bin in the Podback bags will be collected and sent for recycling.

We are using both our household waste vehicles and our recycling vehicles to provide you with a weekly coffee pod recycling collection.

I live in a flat or property with shared bins, can I still take part in the scheme?

If you live in a block of flats with a communal bin collection, you can use the Podback Drop Off service, provided by Yodel. To find out more, and how to get your free recycling bags for this service, please visit the Podback website.

What happens if I have an assisted collection?

If you have an assisted collection, pods will be collected from your usual recycling collection point. Place the bag(s) on top of your kerbside waste or recycling bin by 7am, on your normal collection day.

How many Podback bags can I get collected?

We can collect as many full bags as you have. Place your bags out as and when, but please do not fill them over the dotted line. If you run out of bags, you can reorder by logging into your account on the Podback website.

What types of pods are accepted at the kerbside?

Aluminium and plastic coffee, tea and hot chocolate pods from participating Podback member brands can be recycled with Podback.

Can I put aluminium and plastic pods in the same bag?

No, the different types of pods must be kept separate so they can be sent to the correct reprocessing facility. There are two different bags, white for aluminium pods and green for plastic pods. 

If your household regularly uses both aluminium and plastic pods, the easiest option is to create two accounts, one for plastic and one for aluminium, using different email addresses. You can then order the appropriate bags when needed.

Can I include the packaging my pods came in inside the collection bags?

No, please do not place the packaging your pods came in inside the collection bags. Check how to recycle these items via our A-Z.

Do I need to remove the used coffee grounds before putting them into the collection bag?

No, you can put the whole pod straight into the recycling bag. The coffee grounds are removed from the pods as part of the recycling process. The coffee is then treated by anaerobic digestion which creates renewable energy (biogas) and soil improver.

Can I use any type of bag to return my used pods at the kerbside?

No. To take part in the Podback kerbside recycling service you must use the recycling bags provided for free by Podback. 

The Podback bags help the collection crews identify the bags easily.  It also helps them to be sorted for reprocessing more effectively.

It’s easy to sign up and order free kerbside bags from the Podback website.

Please only use the Podback bags for pods. They can not be used for other kerbside waste. If you want to recycle textiles or small electricals, please use a separate carrier bag.

I have received a Podback ‘wrong bag’ sticker, what do I do?

Please take the bag back inside your property. You will need to sign up for the Podback service to order your free Podback recycling bags. 

Missed collections

My bags haven’t been collected, why?

The collection crews will collect all Podback recycling bags that are clearly visible on top of your kerbside waste or recycling bin by 7am, on your normal collection day.

Please make sure your bags only contain coffee pods and are not filled with liquids or packaging split or overflowing. It may be that the crew had to leave the bags as they contained the wrong materials. If the bags do contain the wrong materials or lots of liquid, please remove these before putting them out on your next collection.

My bags haven’t been collected. Why won’t you return to collect them?

We can collect pods with every household waste or recycling collection, however if your pods have not been collected, please take them back inside your property and put out again on your next scheduled collection.  If you have had multiple missed collections, please let us know by emailing us at env.services@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk.

To minimise environmental impact, we won't return for missed pod collections. Instead, we can collect them on your next scheduled day, reducing additional carbon emissions.

I saw the collection crew put my pods into the back of the lorry. Does this mean that they won’t be recycled?

It is likely that the crew stored the pods in a small cage mounted to the underside of the vehicle. All pods are kept separate so that they can be sent for recycling, even if they are collected with your black household waste bins. We can of course discuss this with the crew to ensure they are collecting the pods correctly.

If you are confident that the pods were not recycled, please email env.services@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk and we can look into this further.

Household Waste and Recycling Centres

Can I take my own pods to the Household Waste and Recycling Centres?

No, please do not take your pods to a Household Waste and Recycling Centre. You can only recycle your coffee pods through our kerbside collection service. You can sign up to this free service at the Podback website.

 

What happens to coffee pods once collected?

What happens to my used pods?

After collection, the coffee pods are taken to specialist reprocessing plants in the UK.  They are shredded to remove the coffee grounds. The plastic and aluminium are then transformed into new products, including beverage cans, car components, building products or plastic garden furniture. The coffee grounds are processed by anaerobic digestion, which creates renewable energy (biogas) and soil improver.

Watch this animation to show what happens to your pods

Where will the pods be processed and recycled?

The recycling process takes place in the UK, so your pod doesn’t have to travel far before it’s transformed into something new.  Aluminium pods are reprocessed in Cheshire. Plastic pods are reprocessed in Yorkshire.

Watch this video that shows how your pods are processed

Why can’t I recycle coffee pods in my recycling bin?

Coffee pods cannot be recycled through existing collection services due to their size, weight and wet coffee grounds.  Due to their composition, coffee pods require a specialised recycling process to remove the coffee grounds and therefore need to be collected separately from regular recycling. The Podback scheme ensures both plastic and aluminium pods are sent to specialised treatment facilities. Please refrain from placing pods, loose or bagged, in your recycling bin as they cannot be recycled there.

Are the bags recycled as part of the recycling process?

The recycling bags supplied by Podback for kerbside recycling are made of recycled material and are fully recyclable.  They are baled by the reprocessor and sent to a facility in Yorkshire which specialises in recycling flexible plastics, such as food wrappers and films. The facility produces plastic pellets which are used in a wide range of manufacturing industries.

What’s is the carbon impact of the Podback scheme?

The carbon footprint of the service is very important. Podback and their partners are working to make sure the service is as efficient as possible.

Coffee pods have traditionally been difficult to recycle through existing collection services due to their size, weight and wet coffee grounds. The Podback service helps us divert coffee grounds and valuable resources from landfill or Energy from Waste.

Wouldn’t it be better if people didn’t use pods at all?

Coffee is a very personal taste and Podback believes that every consumer should have the choice to drink it in their favourite way, whether this is through instant, roasted, ground or more recently pods. Podback is focused on making this choice for consumers as sustainable as possible by offering them an easy way to recycle their coffee pods.
Nespresso has conducted life cycle analysis studies of different types of coffee, which show that that one of the biggest environmental impacts comes from the way it is prepared. These studies show that coffee pods are actually more sustainable compared to other methods, because they only use the exact amount of coffee beans, water and energy required to brew one cup.
However, Podback knows that more needs to be done to ensure that all pod packaging is captured and recycled, which is exactly why Podback was launched. 

Cancelling the service

What do I do if I no longer require the Podback service?

You can cancel the Podback service through your online account at any time.

More frequently asked questions are also available on the Podback website.