This article is part of our 2016 Hot Beverages digital feature

Brits can’t get enough of coffee pods. Grocery sales alone over the past year have soared by 29.5% to £137.5m [Kantar Worldpanel 52 w/e 22 May 2016] and they’re showing no signs of slowing down.

Growth like that doesn’t go unnoticed and some are questioning the environmental impact of the capsules. With millions of these predominantly plastic and aluminium pods hitting the market every year, where they end up is of increasing concern to consumers.

So, can Brits enjoy their morning espresso hit without a guilty conscience? Their actions certainly have a part to play. Like a lot of waste, whether it is recycled depends on what the end user does with it. The same goes for coffee pods.

Nespresso, for example, offers various options for its consumers. These include: a collection service for used pods, which are picked up when new ones are delivered to the consumer and drop-off points at 6,000 CollectPlus location, Doddle stores and Nespresso Boutiques. Consumers can add a free collection bag to their order when purchasing new capsules from Nespresso’s online store.

Tassimo – the most popular coffee pod machine, according to The Grocer’s exclusive research – has partnered with recycling company TerraCycle to create a free recycling programme for its T-Discs. Consumers can drop off their used capsules at one of hundreds of locations across the UK. Once collected, the T-Discs and foil wraps are cleaned and melted into hard plastic, which can then be remoulded to make new products.

Dualit, meanwhile, has recently added to the collection of compostable pods on the market. Made from corn starch, the pods can be put in with food waste destined for industrial composting. For the consumer this means minimal effort, with no extra separation of materials or drop offers to arrange. After all, the whole point of coffee pods is to offer consumers a high-quality, great-tasting coffee with minimal effort.

In line with the waste hierarchy, not creating waste in the first place will always come above recycling it, but with coffee pod sales showing no sign of slowing down, reducing their environmental impact is a great first step.

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