You know what smells good in the morning? Not screwing over the environment.
While many people are now accustomed to brewing their coffee in single-cup machines, most of them aren’t aware of the catastrophic impact the plastic pods have on the planet. Sure, it’s just a pod. But there are now so many of them in existence — used once, then discarded — that if you linked all of those plastic pods from end-to-end, you could wrap them around the equator more than 10 times. That’s just insane.
So insane, in fact, that the creator of the K-Cup has even come forward to say he regrets inventing them.
But all is not lost. Thanks to a home decor chain in the Maritimes, people can now have their single-serve coffee without, you know, destroying the Earth. Wheaton’s furniture has launched a pilot project at five of its locations (Four in Nova Scotia: Berwick, Lower Sackville, Dartmouth and Halifax. And one in Moncton, NB) to recycle those plastic nuisances once and for all. To top things off, the company is doing it in a way that also helps create jobs for the intellectually disabled.
The process works like this: The Wheaton’s stores in question are now accepting used K-Cups. Simply bring them inside and dump the pods into the designated bin. Anyone who brings in 24 used coffee pods will receive a $1 coupon for Mother Parkers coffee products — a company which is also helping out with the initiative.
“The negativity that’s involved with single-cup coffee — we wanted to remove that aspect,” Wheaton’s founder Garnet Wheaton said during a telephone interview. “We want our customers to be able to enjoy it without worrying about waste.”
Once customers begin to full those bins up, the company uses its already-existing delivery fleet to transport them to Halifax. Trucks that would deliver furniture all day and normally return to the city empty are now loaded up with the pods, eliminating a gap in the company’s transportation system.
In Halifax, the pods are turned over to the Dartmouth Adult Services Centre, where individuals with intellectual disabilities are hired and paid to “take and break the pods down.” Any leftover coffee grinds are thrown into the compost pile while the plastics and other materials are sorted based on their ability to be recycled.
So far, Garnet says the community has really been on board with the initiative.
“We really feel like we’re leading the way here,” Wheaton said. “We’re hoping others will be inspired to do the same.”
If the project proves successful, Garnet hopes to expand it to all Wheaton’s locations.
Now that’s something to wake up and feel good about.