aving worked with Podback founding members for several years to develop beverage pod collection and recycling, 3Keel were delighted that 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, announced in November 2020 that they were joining forces to create Podback. As a not-for-profit organisation, Podback 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.
As Scheme Managers for Podback, 3Keel have been instrumental in developing and maximising the effectiveness of the collaboration between the founding members and all partners, combining practical knowledge, programme management, and on-the-ground implementation skills to develop the end-to-end solution. Once launched in early 2021, Podback will enable UK coffee pod consumers of all member brands to recycle their pods.
Bringing the scheme to life has involved coordinating a 40+ member project team from 10 partner organisations, with the scope developed through research and analysis of the recycling landscape and consumer behaviours, an understanding of the current PRN system and anticipated future changes to regulations such as EPR. Using extensive stakeholder management, facilitation, conceptualisation, programme management, and financial modelling, a consumer-centric programme has been developed which recognises that the key to driving participation in any recycling scheme is simplicity for the consumer. The resultant programme includes three main collection channels; Kerbside, Bring-back and Handover@Home.
As the simplest route for consumers to recycle, kerbside collection will be available in three local authorities for launch, with Podback aiming to recruit local authorities representing 50% of UK households within 2 years. Recognising that implementation of kerbside collection at scale will take time, 3Keel will also be managing the Bring-back and Handover@Home routes, with consumers able to recycle their pods via Collect+Yodel parcel points from launch in order to attain full geographic coverage. Handover@home will be introduced later in 2021, enabling consumers to return their pods via grocery home delivery services.
With the UK’s largest coffee pod brands as scheme co-founders, we are actively recruiting other members, with the ambition to include all coffee brands that use plastic or aluminium pods in the UK. Whilst the resultant scheme is aimed at coffee pods, the model developed is equally well suited to other difficult to recycle materials, the financial and organisational viability of which will further increase with the move to modulated fees anticipated under the EPR revisions in 2023.