British Columbia

Black coffee, green waste: B.C. bill aims to make single-use coffee pods compostable

Richmond-Queensborough MLA Jas Johal introduced a private members bill last week that would require all single-use pods sold in B.C. to be compostable and force municipalities and their waste management contractors to accept them as green waste.

Many cities and waste contractors won't accept compostable plastic, pod maker says

Keurig's single serving K-Cups, and their competitors, have long been criticized for the waste they create. (CBC Calgary)

A Liberal MLA says when it comes to waste caused by single-use coffee pods, it's time to wake up and smell the coffee.

Richmond-Queensborough MLA Jas Johal introduced a private members' bill last week that would require all single-use pods sold in B.C. — like Keurig K-Cups and competitors — to be compostable.

It would also force municipalities and their waste management contractors to accept those pods as green waste, which is not currently the case.

"At this point we're sort of stuck where one private sector operator can do it, another says we can't based on the technology we already have," Johal said.

One B.C. company making compostable pods says it has lobbied for this change for some time.

Richmond's OneCoffee pods aim to be a better choice for the environment, but brand manager Shelaine Chu says waste systems are holding them back because they often don't accept compostable plastics.

"We are certified 100-per-cent compostable," Chu said. "The challenge is most consumers aren't able to throw that in their compost bin or their organic bin."

Waste criticism

Popping a pod into the Keurig machine or similar device for a hot cup of coffee has become part of many morning routines.

While convenient, the one-time use product has been criticized for adding to landfills.

Many of the pods can be recycled in Metro Vancouver, but it takes some work.

A similar bill to Johal's has been tabled in Ontario and has since passed second reading.

Chu and her colleagues are hoping for a similar reception.

With files from Lien Yeung

Corrections

  • In an earlier version of this story the headline image showed Nespresso pods, not K-Cups, as stated in the caption. The photo has been replaced.
    Mar 21, 2018 8:43 AM PT

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