Tassimo coffee pods not recyclable in Quebec City

Consumers of Tassimo's single-use coffee pods no longer have the option to recycle them in the provincial capital.

No recycle drop-off for single-use pods location in provincial capital

It's difficult to recycle Tassimo coffee pods if you live in Quebec City.

Consumers of Tassimo's single-use coffee pods no longer have the option to recycle them in many regions of Quebec, including the provincial capital.

Like most municipalities, Quebec City says its recycling centre can't accept the plastic capsules left behind after the coffee is brewed. 

To address this, Tassimo signed up with TerraCycle Canada, a company which provided a free service picking up the cups at people's homes. But as of April, TerraCycle ended that service, instead opening 10 locations around the province where people can drop them off. 

But, none of them are in the Quebec City area. Other regions including Sherbrooke and Trois-Rivières, Gaspé region, are also left in the lurch.

Vanessa Farquharson, a spokesperson for TerraCycle, said two groups in Quebec City filed applications seeking to open drop-off locations, but did not meet the criteria. 

"It came down to a lot of things too, in terms of people being willing to open their doors to the public, in schools or places where there are security issues," she said.

Another option available to consumers is to ship the cups to the company for a $50 fee, Farquharson said.

When the pods are recycled, she said they are "turned into a hard plastic lumber that is usually used to make boardwalks, park benches or picnic tables."

Environmental concerns

The coffee pods made by Tassimo and other companies have become a source of controversy, with critics decrying them as an environmental hazard. 

John Sylvan, the inventor of the popular K-Cup coffee pod, said earlier this year he regrets coming up with the idea.  

According to a wildly popular ad campaign against the product, there are so many discarded K-Cups that if you lined them up it would be enough to circle the earth more than 10 times — and that's just from one year's worth of coffee pods.

Research firm NPD Group recently estimated that about 40 per cent of Canadian homes have a single-serving coffee machine, and Canadians spent $95 million on them last year.

with files from Julia Page

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.