According to one study, 65% of Canadians drink coffee daily, and 51% of coffee drinkers drink their coffee at home. Preparing your coffee at home is good for the environment because there’s no disposable cup that needs to be thrown away after visiting a coffee shop.
However, we’re now experiencing a change in the way people make coffee at home.
In the recent past, people used French-presses or “drip” coffee machines to make their morning cup of joe. When using these methods, the leftover coffee grinds and used paper filters can go in the GreenCart for composting.
But now we’re seeing the rising popularity of “disc” and “cup” coffee systems. Pop the pre-packaged disc or cup into the machine, and presto, you’ve got coffee. What could be more simple?
While these systems may be easy and convenient, from a waste management perspective, they are quite wasteful. For every coffee you drink, you now have a disc or cup that needs to be thrown away.
But where do you throw them out?
Well, you actually have to take those discs and cups apart! The empty plastic disc or cup goes into the Blue Box. The grinds go in the GreenCart. If the filter is paper, it goes in the GreenCart, but if the filter is mesh or plastic, it goes in the garbage. The foil seal — which can be tricky to remove — goes in the garbage.
We’re also starting to see discs and cups that are made from “compostable” plastics. However, these cause even more problems — they can’t be recycled and they can’t be composted. They need to go in the garbage.
The good news is, we’re also seeing some manufacturers introducing reusable cups that can be used, washed and used again. This is a great development! Remember, when it comes to the 3Rs — reduce, reuse, recycle — reuse is better than recycling.
So next time you make yourself a coffee, ask yourself “I am doing my part to minimize waste?”