Single-serve coffee pods pose recycling problems - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

Single-serve coffee pods pose recycling problems

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

A recent poll found 1 in 3 Americans have a single-cup brewer at home or at work as opposed to the traditional coffee maker and the National Coffee Association says the multi-billion dollar single-serve industry is taking off.

But there's one problem. Environmentalists say these miniature plastic and aluminum capsules filled with coffee grounds are creating mounds of trash in landfills.

"They're basically impossible to recycle in most municipal programs," Josh Mogerman of the Natural Resources Defense Council explains.

Albe Zakes of Terracyle, a company that provides free waste collection programs for hard to recycle materials, says these coffee capsules are not easily recyclable because they're too small and they're made with blended materials like plastic, aluminum and paper.

Recently, Nesspresso and other single-cup brewing companies have partnered with Terracyle to provide a second life for the used coffee capsules.

"The ones that are more plastic-based are turned into a variety of products," says Mogerman. "Everything from watering cans to recycling bins to park benches.

Keurig, the largest manufacturer of single-cup brewers in the United States tells FOX 32 that reducing the environmental impact has been a critical priority. This year, Keurig introduced a recycling program similar to Terracycle's for customers in the workplace called "Grounds to Grow on." Also, last year, it introduced its Vue Pack, plastic capsules that can be recycled in 60 percent of community facilities.

Even though the coffee industry is well aware of the recycling problem and many companies have introduced sustainability initiatives, it's important for consumers to do their part and participate in recycling as well.

For more information on recycling your coffee capsules, visit Terracycle and Keurig's websites.

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