So, we’ve recently begun the process of reducing our plastic and we thought we’d start with coffee. Our house is a huge coffee drinking household and between the 4 of us we’ve decided that if we are going to permit ourselves to OD on caffeine daily, then the least we could do is be smart about it, recycle, reduce and reuse.
To start, you should know that we have 4 different types of coffee machines that we use on a pretty regular basis. Two of these machines require pods or k-cups of sorts. The other two do not. Lets break it down. Our Jura brand, automatic espresso machine does not require a filter or pod. It just grinds the fresh beans down and the used coffee grounds go into a compartment within the machine. When the compartment is full, the old grounds can get thrown out. We use this machine to brew decaf coffees in the evening after a long day at work. The aroma of the fresh grounds of coffee fills the house giving it that European coffee shop vibe.
The second one, Kitchenaid, uses a standard cone filter which this too can be tossed into the trash. Our Kitchenaid is our power horse machine for the weeks the kids are home. It’s responsible for sometimes brewing 1-2 pots of coffee per day depending on everyone’s schedule and day of the week. That’s a lot of coffee and our machine always holds up to the task. I call it “old reliable”.
Now come the culprits, Nespresso and Keurig. Why culprits? Because they use pods or K-cups which require a single use item to enjoy and contributes to waste. Our Nespresso machine is our go to when we want to sit down on a lazy afternoon with a piece of dark chocolate and a nice steamy cup of coffee. It uses its own brand of pods and they offer a wide variety of delicious flavours. This is the one we use when we really have time and want to plan or daydream. Fortunately, Nespresso recycles their pods fully so there is no feeling bad about that. However, there is some work involved to recycle their pods. To recycle the pods you can simply put the used pods into a green recyclable bag provided by Nespresso which once full, you toss into the recyling bin. The green bags then get sorted out at the recyling center and are sent back to Nespresso. Once they are back at Nespresso everything gets separated and recycled. You can also just bring your full green bag back to a Nespresso store and they send them for recycling as well.
Last but not least, our Keurig. This is our quick, on the go, lets grab a fast coffee for the road, machine. It’s the quickie. The Keurig can use all kinds of pods and k-cups. Some of which are just now becoming recyclable. I have noticed that not all are 100% environmentally friendly so we’ve finished our last K-cup and are now using a “reusable” one suitable for our Kuerig. It’s a little more work but worth it for the environment. It still makes that yummy on the go coffee we all love.
It’s not just coffee and pods we’re reducing, but we’re continuously reducing the amount of plastic in our home in general. We now use a filtered water system and reusable water bottles. Instead of using plastic bags for our lunches, we are using reusable containers regularly now as well.
Our home is definitely on the move to change the amount of garbage we dispose but I must admit, it’s not easy. We have become so dependant on single use items that it’s really hard to commit those extra minutes to reduce, reuse and recyle. It sounds ridiculous when you think about it or say it out loud, but when you’re running late and you want that coffee to go, it’s faster to throw in a pod instead of going through the whole process of filling a reusable one. Same goes for many other things in our lives. Does it boil down to saving time or pure laziness? I don’t know. It’s probably both.
Since we are focusing at recyling plastics, we thought we’d take on the task of composting as well. We are researching which type of composting system will work for us and also, how to do it. It seems tricky but we figured that since we discard so many coffee filters and used grounds into the trash why not turn it into something useful instead. Our compost will go towards a garden which is something we’ve done in the past. I’m not a great gardener nor am I a succesful one, but I always put my heart into it. Maybe knowing that the compost we’ve created from our own trash will give me that green thumb boost I so desire. My mother was an avid gardener and a natural at it. Unfortunately, I did not get that gene.
I strongly feel that we all have a responsibility in keeping our planet clean and we all need to do our share to help clean it up. In some form or another, we have all left a negative imprint on our planet. It’s time to turn that into something positive, sooner than later. My house has made a big effort to make change and I hope that the results will have an impact on the environment. It may not be instant but some change is good change.