Coffee drinkers are passionate about their java, but many feel strongly about taking care of the environment too. There seems to be a lot of needless waste when it comes to drinking coffee, from excessive paper cups thrown in the trash, to pesky little pods full of grounds and foil coffee bags that seem recyclable but are not.
According to Science Alert, the number of disposable cups thrown away has exploded to an estimated 2.5 billion a year, or around 5,000 every minute.
Fact: Most disposable coffee cups cannot be recycled, even though consumers often think they can. Most are lined with polyethylene to make it waterproof, but it also makes it non-recyclable for most facilities.
According to Mother Jones, the waste that single-serve coffee machines sold in North America in 2014 produced enough trash to circle the earth 11 times.
Fact: Most single serve cups are not recyclable. Some companies are working toward creating cups that can be recycled, but most today are not yet recyclable and end up in the landfill.
Here are 8 Ways Coffee Drinkers can Recycle More, Reduce Waste
- Bring your own mug or reusable tumbler next time you go out for coffee and avoid the paper cups. Some coffee shops may even offer incentives for bringing your own traveling coffee mug or tumbler, such as 10 cents each time you bring in your own tumbler.
- Visit coffee shops that recycle, reduce waste, and offer cups made of recycled materials. Starbucks has started to offer some cups that can be recycled in the UK.
- Avoid buying the foil bags of coffee, which are not recyclable. Instead, buy coffee in bulk, or coffee bags made entirely of paper. Coffee containers made of plastic or tin can also be recycled.
- Consider the new recyclable pods if you have a single-use Coffee machine at home. The popular Keurig® single-use coffee machine has now introduced recyclable Green Mountain K-Cup® pods that are made from #5 plastic. Although, currently only 5% of the Green Mountain coffee pods are said to be recyclable.To recycle, the lid would need to be peeled off and the contents cleaned out – then they are ready to recycle. Keurig said they plan on making all K-Cups recyclable by 2020.
- Buy single use pods that can be sent away in to be recycled. Nespresso® is another coffee-pod machine that has just started a pod recycling program to make it easy for their customers to send the pods back for recycling. Nespresso says the coffee grounds are turned into compost and every part of the capsule is recycled. Check out this full Nespresso® product review in the Ultimate Nespresso Guide at espressoperfecto.com.
- Find alternatives to using the pods for your single-use coffee machine, such as the reusable coffee filter. This way you buy your own coffee and pack the filter yourself, enjoy your coffee, wash, and reuse, with no plastic coffee pods to dispose.
- If you use cream, recycle the half-and-half cartons. Carton recycling is growing and many communities are now accepting cartons in their recycling program. Try to avoid the individual creamer cups, as those are not recyclable.
- Reuse your coffee grounds at home. No, we don’t mean brew another batch of not-so-strong coffee, but consider using the grounds as compost, cleaning, or even for beauty! Here are some unique ideas for reusing coffee grounds.
Harmony Enterprises, Inc. makes trash compactors and balers for waste and recycling. Our balers are used to compact recyclables: everything from cardboard packaging to the plastic and tins cans that your coffee comes in. We care about the environment (and love coffee too!) and are always working toward making the earth a greener, more sustainable place for generations to come. If you are interested in learning more about our waste management and recycling products, please contact us here or call us at (507) 886-6666.
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