How to enjoy a more sustainable cup of coffee

Making coffee is a necessary part of many people’s morning routines—Americans consume approximately 400 million cups daily. However, one method of brewing the ideal cup of coffee has come under fire. Recently, Canada’s Competition Bureau fined Keurig Canada millions of dollars for damages resulting from false claims that their plastic K-cups are “recyclable,” when in fact, they are recyclable only in two provinces—British Columbia and Quebec.

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While coffee pods may feature a convenient recycling symbol, breaking them down to a recyclable state requires significantly more effort than it appears. To begin, allow the pod to cool slightly before peeling away the tricky foil and scooping the grounds into the trash or compost. Before rinsing out the plastic, dig beneath any remaining grounds to remove a paper filter attached to the pod. The Toronto Sun reported that each year, the city of Toronto reverts 99 tonnes of pods from recycling bins to landfills.

Single-use plastic is an environmental nightmare on every level—whether it’s a K-cup, a water bottle, a drinking straw, or a grocery bag. Globally, people generated over 130 million tonnes of single-use plastic waste in 2019. Fortunately, there are numerous ways to alter one’s appearance.

Switch to a low- or no-waste method of coffee brewing.
What is the simplest way to minimise waste in your coffee brewing method? Make the transition away from pods. Fortunately, there are numerous methods for making coffee at home that do not require a lot of time or skill. For instance, a Moka pot or Turkish pot is a simple way to make zero-waste coffee that tastes great, especially if you enjoy super-strong coffee. A French press may be the way to go if you’re looking for something a little milder but still waste-free.

Filters are required for certain manual coffee makers, such as the Chemex, pour-over single, or Aeropress. Fortunately, these are frequently compostable, and in some cases, reusable for pour-over or automatic drip coffee. Simply conduct research on the brand and type of filter before discarding it in your compost bin (the bleached white ones tend to not be as compostable).

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