How to recycle coffee pods

Coffee pods (also known as coffee capsules) are a great way to enjoy barista quality coffee at home. Each pod contains the perfect amount of ground coffee for a single serve. And because the pods are sealed, they are designed to lock in freshness – ensuring every pod tastes just as good as the first. However, if pods aren’t disposed of correctly, it can be harmful to the environment. And depending on what they are made out of, recycling coffee pods can be tricky…

Some coffee pods can take around 500 years to decompose – harming wildlife and polluting ecosystems. And while other pods claim to be compostable, they often need to be industrially composted – so they can’t just go in your household compost. Those that can go in household waste streams, often aren’t as good at keeping coffee fresh.


Coffee capsules ready for recycling


Are coffee pods recyclable?

Recycling coffee pods made from aluminium is said to be the most environmentally friendly way to enjoy coffee capsules. Thanks to the Podback national recycling scheme – recycling of coffee pods can now be free and easy. It is also possible to recycle plastic coffee pods with this scheme, but this may depend on where you purchase your pods from.

All Ueshima Nespresso® compatible coffee pods (which are made from 80% recycled aluminium) can be recycled free of charge by using this scheme. You can order a free Podback bag from our website to begin collecting your used pods for recycling.


Podback aluminium bags


What happens to my used pods?

The first step in your aluminum pods journey to becoming something new, is the pods being shredded to remove any remaining coffee grounds. The coffee grounds are transformed into soil improver and renewable energy.

Aluminum pods are melted down and poured into moulds, and cooled into large aluminium blocks. Which can be used in the manufacture of new products such as car components and drink cans. Because aluminium can be endlessly recycled, this process can happen over and over again.


Podback alumnium pod recycling


Even the Podback bags used to collect your used capsules are recycled too. This is done at a facility in Yorkshire that specializes in recycling flexible plastic, such as food wrappers and films.

Where are the pods recycled?

Podback recycles your used coffee pods in the UK – so they don’t have to travel far before they get a new lease of life. Aluminium pods are shredded and then reprocessed in Cheshire, while plastic pods are shredded and reprocessed in Yorkshire.

The recycling service is available nationwide, so no matter where you are in the UK, recycling coffee pods can be straightforward.

How does Ueshima collaborate with Podback?

We have partnered with Podback to allow your coffee capsules to be recycled more conveniently. To recycle your aluminium coffee pods, all you need to do is order a free Podback bag from our website, or directly from Podback. Pop your used Ueshima capsules in the bag, and then drop them off at your closest Yodel Store (you can print your free returns label in store or at home here). Podback bags can store up to 150 individual capsules!

Find out more about how coffee pods recycle below:


If you enjoyed reading this, be sure to check out our coffee blog for more information on all thing's coffee. Alternatively, you can find out more about our sustainability commitments here.