Compostable coffee pods may be increasingly available on store shelves but some Canadian cities, including Toronto, say their waste systems aren’t yet able to process biodegradable versions of the popular single-serve java products.
The pods and their environmental impact went under the spotlight this week as a Progressive Conservative politician in Ontario introduced a private member’s bill that would, if passed, make it illegal to sell the products unless they are fully compostable. Retailers would get four years to take non-compostable pods off the market.
The province’s Liberal government has said it is open to reviewing Norm Miller’s proposed legislation, although private member’s bills seldom become law.
But despite the push for compostable versions of the product, some large municipal waste programs in Ontario say they have yet to approve eco-friendly coffee pods for their curbside composting programs.
“There is a difference between (being) laboratory-certified compostable and what municipal composting systems can achieve,” said Jim McKay, general manager of solid waste management services for the City of Toronto.
City staff are testing the compatibility of coffee pods with their composting program and will report their findings in February next year, he said, but concerns about the ability of the system to handle the products remain.
Ottawa and Hamilton also do not accept compostable coffee pods in their curbside compost bin programs.