We know that super-convenient single-use coffee pods can also be super bad for the environment. In 2013, Green Mountain, just one of the makers of the one-time-use pods, produced 8.3 billion K-cups, enough to wrap around the equator 10.5 times. Some of those coffee pods were ripped apart by conscious consumers and recycled where possible, but the vast majority of them ended up in landfills. The waste from this convenience is such a concern that John Sylvan, creator of the Keurig, said in an interview that he never envisioned the sheer amount of waste his invention would create.
The problem is acknowledged by the industry, and better options for single-use coffee pods are starting to be available to consumers. One of those options is the EcoCup. Marley Coffee sent me a sample of the company's organic Lively Up coffee in the recyclable EcoCup capsule. The company says the cups are "easy-to-recycle sustainable single-serve capsule that will drastically reduce the amount of waste in comparison to that produced by traditional capsules."
I don't have a Keurig machine, so I took the coffee to my friend Penny's house over the weekend to give the capsules a try. We caught up over a couple of cups of Lively Up (which was very good, by the way), and when we were done, we tested out how easy the capsules were to take apart. And it was super easy.
As you can see from the photo, the filter and lid separated completely from the capsule. The capsule can be recycled anywhere that accepts #6 plastic for recycling. My capsule spilled a little of the grounds as I was separating the parts, so I'd suggest doing it over a trashcan or sink. Penny's capsule separated cleanly. Instead of explaining how the capsule is taken apart, I thought I'd just show you the instructions on the box.
If you wanted to, you could remove the lid from the filter to take out the coffee grounds for composting. If not, the full filter and lid go into the trash. This isn't a perfect solution, but it's a better option than the entire capsule ending up in the trash.
All of Marley Coffee RealCup single-serve capsules will transition over the recyclable EcoCup format starting this month. Marley Coffee also supports global sustainability initiatives through Water Wise Coffee, donating 1 cent of every single-serve capsule sold to improving water quality in regions affected by coffee production.