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Reducing Landfill Waste, One Single-Use Coffee Pod at a Time!
When Steve Ward, Project Manager of the Safe, Clean, Green and Design Program at Scranton Tomorrow, spearheaded a pilot program to recycle single-use coffee pods last November, his goal was to collect 2,000 pods.
Eight-thousand pods later (and counting!), the program is still going strong in Lackawanna County. “The response was beyond my wildest expectations,” Ward said.
How it all began.
Ward identified a need for a program like this when he realized that single-use coffee pods may contain recyclable components, but they are often not accepted at recycling centers. Why? Because the pods must be completely deconstructed before they can be recycled. Separating the plastic base from the foil lid and filter is just too labor intensive and expensive for many recycling centers, including the one in Lackawanna County. So, off to the landfill they go.
How it helps the environment.
Ward said many people are surprised to learn the pods they’re throwing into the recycling bin are not actually being recycled, and they’re happy to contribute to the program. “Even though it’s labor intensive and there’s a cost for Scranton Tomorrow to recycle the pods, it’s well worth it,” Ward said. “The plastic is recycled and remanufactured, and the foil lids are recycled. Plus, the coffee grounds inside the filter are composted so we’re returning material back to the soil, and that’s very beneficial.”
How to keep it going.
If you’re a coffee drinker in Lackawanna County with a single-use coffee pod system, you can join the cause simply by saving and donating your used pods. Gather a bunch and contact Ward at (570) 963-5901 or [email protected] to make arrangements for drop-off. Scranton Tomorrow will send the pods to a specialized recycling facility for deconstruction.
To help defray the costs of processing, Scranton Tomorrow is offering sponsorship opportunities to continue the program as long as possible. To learn more, email [email protected].
Save the date(s)!
With spring just around the corner, it’s time to spruce up landscapes and properties. Ward and the Safe, Clean, Green and Design members will host the first planting of season on April 2. Be sure to follow Scranton Tomorrow on Facebook and Instagram for more details and stop by our booth at the Lackawanna County Earth Day Fair on Courthouse Square in Scranton on April 22. Plans are also underway for Scranton City Pride, a week of cleanups, beautification, and environmental projects, the first week of June.
For more information about this and other exciting projects visit Scranton Tomorrow.