Podback frequently asked questions
Q: What is the process for signing up?
A: You should have received a leaflet which explains the scheme and how to sign up. Please follow the link on the leaflet to sign-up to the Podback scheme at the Podback website.
When you register, you will be asked which type or brand of pods you use. This information will then be used to determine which bags you need – there are separate kerbside recycling bags for plastic and aluminium pods.
Your bags (around 13 bags per roll) will then be sent to you within 5 - 7 working days. Once you have your bags, you can start filling them up straight away. Podback will send bags out to you every 6 months.
Q: How do I recycle my coffee pods at home?
A: After registering for the service and ordering your free recycling bags online (as above) you can recycle your coffee pods through the kerbside collection service. Simply fill your Podback recycling bag with used aluminium or plastic pods. Once your bag is full, place it on top of your blue recycling or green waste bin lid on your normal collection day for recycling.
Q: Do I have to pay for the collections?
A: No, the collection of pods is completely free to residents.
Q: Can I recycle any brand of coffee pod?
A: Plastic and aluminium pods can be recycled using separate collection bags provided by Podback, from participating brands.
Podback’s ambition is to expand the programme to include all coffee brands that use plastic or aluminium pods in the UK. Find out if you can recycle your brand of pods at the Podback website.
Q: Why aren’t all brands of pods included?
A: Nestle and JDE brands - Nespresso, Nescafé Dolce Gusto, Starbucks by Nespresso, Starbucks by Nescafé Dolce Gusto, Tassimo and L’OR – together represent over three quarters of the UK market.
Podback wants to make the scheme even bigger and better. That is why Podback is asking all brands and retailers that place plastic or aluminium beverage pods on the market to join so that the scheme has maximum coverage.
Q: Can I place aluminium and plastic coffee pods in the same bag?
A: The different types of pods must be kept separate so that they can be sent to the correct reprocessing facility. There are two different bags, a white one for aluminium pods and teal one for plastic pods. If you use both aluminium and plastic pods you should request both types of bags when you register at the Podback website.
Q: Do I need to remove the used coffee grounds before putting them into the collection bag?
A: No, the coffee grounds are removed from the pods at the reprocessor. The coffee is then used as a soil improver and to create renewable energy.
Please drain any remaining liquid from your used pod before adding it to your recycling bag.
Q: Can I include the packaging my pods came in?
A: Please do not place the packaging your pods came in inside the collection bags. Check to find out what can and cannot be recycled at the kerbside online.
Q: Can I use any bag for my coffee pods?
A: You can only use the bags provided by Podback for the kerbside recycling of coffee pods. To take part in the new Podback coffee pod kerbside recycling collection scheme you need to register and order kerbside recycling bags from the Podback website.
Q: How long will it take for the recycling bags to arrive?
A: Your bags will be sent to you within 5 -7 working days. Once you have your bags, you can start filling them up straight away. Simply follow the instructions on the bag itself and place the bag out for collection on top of your blue recycling or green waste bin lid.
Q: How do I order more bags?
A: Podback will send you recycling bags every 6 month for your coffee pods. If you need bags sooner than this, please visit the Podback website.
Q: I haven’t received my bags from Podback which I ordered ages ago. What do I do?
A: Your bags should have been sent to you within 5 -7 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.
Q: Can I put out extra bags?
A: Yes, you can put out as many bags are you want. Should you run out of bags, you can order more from the Podback website.
Flats and Communal Properties
Q: What happens if I live in a flat or communal property?
A: If you live in a flat or communal property, an assessment of your collection arrangements is required to ensure you have the facilities available to use this service. Please email the Recycling Team for further information.
Q: I live in a flat and the pods haven’t been collected. What do I do?
A: If you live in a flat or communal property, you should have requested an assessment of your collection arrangement first, completed by the Recycling Team, to ensure that you have the facilities available to use the service. If this has been approved, there will signage within your collection area to advise of this.
If you require an assessment to be completed or are having issues with your collections, please email the Recycling Team.
Q: I live in a flat or communal property and have been told I cannot recycle my coffee pods at the kerbside. Can I still participate in coffee pod recycling?
A: Yes. If you live in a flat or communal property and cannot access a kerbside service, you can use the Collect+ service, which allows you to drop off filled bags to your nearest Collect+ store. To order your free recycling bag and return via Collect+ visit the Podback website.
Q: Can I use the Collect+ bags for kerbside collection as well?
A: You must use the Podback recycling bags that are designed for the kerbside collections. Aluminium and plastic pods need to be kept separate as they are sent to different reprocessing plants. These bags help the collection crews identify the types of pods so that they can be sorted for reprocessing. To order bags visit the Podback website
If you request a Collect+ recycling option, you will be sent a recycling bag specifically for this type of collection. You need to follow the online instructions, print a label and return it to a Collect+ store.
Q: I saw the refuse crew put my pods into the back of the lorry. Does this mean that they won’t be recycled?
A: Thank you for reporting this. 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 refuse bins. We can of course discuss this with the crew to ensure they are collecting the pods correctly. Please email the Recycling Team and we can look into this further.
Q: My bags haven’t been collected. What do I do?
A: We will collection your pods the following week - please leave them out for collection with your normal recycling and waste collection service, on top of your blue recycling or green waste bin lid.
Please ensure your bags only contain coffee pods and are not filled with liquids. 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 presenting them for collection.
Q: Why won’t you return to collect the bag if you missed it?
A: We have decided not to return for missed pod collections due to the environmental impact of sending back a collection vehicle to collect the pods. By collecting the pods on your next collection the following week, we avoid creating any additional carbon emissions.
Q: Can I take my own pods to the recycling centre?
A: Please do not take your pods to the recycling centres or banks. You can only recycle your coffee pods via our kerbside collection service. You can sign up to the service at the Podback website.
What Happens to Coffee Pods Once Collected?
Q: What happens to my used pods?
A: After collection, the coffee pods are taken to a specialist reprocessing plant in the UK to separate the packaging from the used coffee grounds. The coffee grounds are used to create soil improver and renewable energy. The plastic and aluminium will be transformed into new products such as beverage cans or plastic garden furniture.
Q: Where will the pods be processed and recycled?
A: Aluminium pods will be reprocessed at Tandom Metallurgical Group Ltd. in Congleton, near Stoke-on-Trent. Plastic pods will be reprocessed by Roydon in Swinton, near Manchester.
Q: Are the bags recycled as part of the recycling process?
A: The current recycling bags are not recycled as part of the recycling process due to their contact with liquids, labels and wider materials. However, the bags are recovered and used to create energy but Podback are looking at ways to recycle these in the future.
Q: Wouldn’t it be better if people didn’t use pods at all?
A: 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.
Q: Why is Podback using so many different types of plastic bags to recycle the pods?
A: There are two types of kerbside bag. One for recycling aluminium pods and the other for recycling plastic pods. The pods must be kept separate as they are sent to different processing plants. The bags help the collection crews identify the types of coffee pods for collection and recycling.
There are two types of Collect+ bag. One for recycling aluminium pods and the other for recycling plastic pods. The pods must be kept separate as they are sent to different processing plants. These have been designed with special seals to stop any liquid leaking out when they are sent through the Collect+ system.