Ahhhh it’s Saturday. Had your coffee yet? In recent years, single-serving coffee pots have become all the rage. Simply select your roast, pop the K-Cup (a plastic container with a coffee filter inside) into the machine, and hit brew. About a minute later, you’ve got a piping hot cup of joe, and there’s no filter or carafe to clean.
There is the question of what to do with that little plastic cup, however. Keurig, the company that first brought the K-Cup to market, has struggled to convince customers that convenience is a worthy justification for all the plastic waste they’ll create. Now, a Canadian company called Canterbury Coffee may have beat them to a green solution. The OneCoffee Cup uses 40 percent less plastic than the K-Cup, and according to the creators, is almost entirely biodegradable.
So what makes the OneCoffee cup so much greener? Well, according to Waste Recycling News, “it doesn’t have a hard shell like traditional K-Cups — and the hard plastic ring uses a support structure that will compost in an anaerobic environment.”
Unlike K-Cups, the OneCoffee is made of polylactic acid resin which will degrade in any type of moist environment, from a home composting bin to a landfill or anaerobic digester. “The only part of the cup that is not biodegradable is the nylon filter. Canterbury says it’s working on substituting it with a biodegradable alternative such as polyethylene furanoate,” reports Environmental Leader.
I’ve had especially deep-green friends save their K-Cups in a pile, taking them apart by hand so as to be able to recycle the bits that are acceptable under single stream recycling laws. This extra chore isn’t necessary with OneCoffee cups, however. “Consumers don’t have to clean or disassemble the cups, just throw them away. The cups will break down in an industrial composter — the first step for most garbage collected in Canada’s municipal waste streams — or in a regular landfill environment,” the company’s senior marketing manager Derek Perkins told Waste Recycling News.