Developing a coffee pod recycling scheme - for all Australians


What is Podcycle?

Podcycle is a new product stewardship scheme being established by Planet Ark in collaboration with Coffee Pod Brands and stakeholders.  Initially funded by the Australian government's National Product Stewardship Investment Fund, the Coffee Pod industry are committed to having a sustainable category. 

The objectives of the scheme are to establish a national scheme for all Australians that aims to collects and recycles all types (TBC) and brands of coffee pods and is accredited as a voluntary scheme by the Australian Government.

The scheme is planned for launch later in 2024.

See the full length video here. 

Offical Podcycle in-store trials will commence in February, 2024, where select locations will be provided with Podcycle collection boxes and signage, like those depicted below.

Cardboard and corflute

Cardboard and corflute

Why recycle coffee pods?

Australia is a nation of coffee lovers and people are increasingly embracing the convenience of coffee pods. On average, Australians consume 3 million coffee pods daily, with only ~10-20% recycled. This equates to an estimated 8,500 tonnes of aluminium, plastic and used coffee grounds going to landfill every year. 

Through the scheme, all pods will be collected and consolidated off-site, before being transported to the REMONDIS Tomago Resource Recovery Facility for post-consumer coffee pod recycling.

Using a Turbo Separator de-packaging line, spent coffee grounds are removed from the pods to be processed into compost. The aluminium and plastic is captured and returned to the circular economy as a valuable recovered resource.  

Research into other innovative options for all materials will also be considered. 

The Podcycle scheme will help to reduce waste, recycle more, and save resources from going to landfill. 

Coffee pod ground separation, aluminium, composting remondis

Coffee pod ground separation, aluminium, composting remondis

Current pod recycling options

From February 2024, limited Podcycle trials have commenced in the following locations:

PODCYCLE Trial Sites 2024

PODCYCLE Trial Sites 2024

Existing coffee pod recycling schemes are brand specific and there is currently no recycling solution at kerbside due to coffee pods' small size, which causes them to fall through the cracks at recycling centres. Coffee pods also cause contamination in the recycling stream when placed in kerbside recycling bins. 

Also, our scheme partner Nespresso provides free recycling for its coffee capsules, recovering both the aluminium packaging and coffee grounds. 

Customers can recycle their capsules at one of the 19,000 drop-off points around Australia or return them through the post. Bulk collection boxes are also available to businesses and organisations. 

Find current recycling options here. 

Find out more

Discover other national product stewardship schemes in operation. 

Funding Partner

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