How To Store And Recycle Coffee Pods
Coffee lovers in most parts of the world have fallen in love with single-cup brewers. Introduced in the market in the 1990s, single-cup machines and coffee capsules are gaining traction among coffee fanatics. Perhaps it’s because of their convenience and ability to produce a fresh brew of great flavor with each serving. Who doesn’t want to enjoy a high-quality brew at only a press of a button?
Unfortunately, it would be an exceptional experience for any coffee lover, were it not for the sustainability challenges posed by the small plastic bags wrapping single-serve coffee. The coffee pods are made of a modified plastic which is not biodegradable and to some extent non-recyclable. In this case, it is clear that anytime you throw the little pod into the bin after use, you are simply adding into the numerous products that are disastrous to the environment.
The truth is, these coffee pods are wasteful, and this can be backed by their inventor John Sylvan who was quoted in a 2015 interview with the Atlantic saying that he did not own one and regretted having created them. Also, there are statistics showing that the amount of the capsules infused in the market in 2013 by Green Mountain are able to encircle the earth 10.5 times if arranged back to back. Unfortunately, going the Hamburg’s way in containing the menace may not solve the problem, since there are many other products harming the environment anyway.
Read more about coffee: Coffee, What Else? – The Next Biofuel
So, how can you help in reducing the possible damage these coffee capsules pose to the environment?
Luckily, you do not have to allow your used coffee pods to end up in the landfills. It is true that Green Mountain has vowed to come up with recyclable coffee pods for their Keurig machine by 2020. More companies are looking at the possibility of creating biodegradable and recyclable pods. Meanwhile, you can use other ways to dispose them and help encourage a healthier environment. With the following ideas, you can now enjoy a guilt-free moment with your coffee pod cup of coffee.
1. Use less plastic for more
If you can invest in single-serve brands with a stronger blend of coffee, then you can easily brew at least two cups successfully from a single pod. In this case, you will be left with less plastic to deal with.
2. Consider alternative uses
Other than adding to the overwhelmed landfills, why not use these plastic packages for storing food, ingredients, and other kitchen products you want to wrap. After brewing your coffee, just remove the top and clean the container thoroughly. Anytime you want to keep ingredients chopped or ready for use when cooking, put them in these containers and cover with a foil before storing.
Also, you can give these items to craftsmen who recycle old items to create beautiful items of art. Many crafts training centers, kid’s facilities and some businesses would appreciate getting some of these materials even at a small cost. They will cut the plastic containers into different shapes for various uses. Of importance is to make sure your continued use of the single-serve coffee doesn’t harm the environment.
A third alternative is to be on the lookout for single-serve manufacturers who have partnered with recycling companies to provide better disposal methods of their product. For instance, TerraCycle collects used single-serve containers of different brands from consumers for repurposing.
3. Separate its main parts and recycle each accordingly
Thanks to the creative minds around, there is a device you can use to separate the different parts of a coffee pod container. With a device like recycle a cup, you can tear the container, separate the aluminum foil, the plastic part, and paper filter. Each can be disposed of separately depending on the material used. For instance, the aluminum is recyclable, the paper filter and the coffee are biodegradable.
Basically, asking a person looking for convenience in a product to dissect a tiny plastic container after use sounds like a tall order. However, would you rather bid your favorite drink goodbye because of guilt, or have to drive miles away for a fresh brew anytime you are thirsty for some? The best thing is that you can enjoy your fresh brew even when in a hurry and plan to deal with the disposal issue the right way at your free time.
Read also: The Importance of Recycling at Home
About the guest author
Rudy Caretti has more than 15 years of experience in the coffee industry, a passion that started in Italy within the family business and brought him to found Gimoka Coffee UK with a group of friends, who share the same passion. As a coffee connoisseur, Rudy has always been aware of the vital role played by coffee in most people’s social life and he is especially active through the company’s social media and blog. He loves sharing his knowledge with readers around the world, writing and posting articles that range from the coffee brewing techniques to raising awareness of the importance of responsible production to help protect the rights of farmers and protect the environment.