As the debate over what to do about coffee pods continues, a Sudbury-based organization for adults with developmental disabilities says it might have a creative solution to the problem.
The Adult Enrichment Centre is looking to start a coffee pod recycling program to help manage the waste from the single-serve plastic cups, and give their clients meaningful employment.
Joanne Bouchard, the director of the centre, says the program would be a win-win for everyone.
"Every household, every office, every little store. Everybody's drinking KCups," says Bouchard.
Area manager Ashley Roberts says clients could easily separate the pods and then sort the components for recycling or composting.
"There's a tool that you can buy that separates them, because you need to separate the plastic from the filter," she says. "The filter is decomposable and the plastic is recyclable in certain areas."
Bouchard says the program would be a win-win for everyone, but the centre has faced a few setbacks in getting the program off the ground.
Neither Sudbury or Sault Ste. Marie, the two cities where the centre is located, accept the plastic cups as recyclable.
Jo-Anne St. Godard, executive director of the Recycling Council of Ontario, says coffee pods are a challenge to recycle, because the materials used in the pods aren't standardized across the industry.
That makes it difficult to determine when the plastic is recyclable and when it isn't.
"You'd really have to examine pod by pod if in fact the plastic could be recycled," she says.
On top of this, recycling infrastructure differs across communities, and many just don't have the technology or manpower to separate and sort the pods themselves.