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Hamburg Bans Single-Use Coffee Pods Over Environmental Concerns

Despite their convenience, single-use coffee pods have invited some controversy for their negative impact on the environment.

From polluting the oceans to clogging landfills, those pesky plastic containers are anything but green and almost impossible to recycle. Made of a mixture of plastic and aluminium, organic waste is left from the unused coffee grounds after the pods are used, which can make them difficult to process in standard recycling plants.

According to a report from Mother Jones, the number of single-use coffee pods produced in 2013 alone was enough to wrap around the planet more than 10 times.

Finally, it seems like people are starting to wake up to the dark side of coffee pods.

The German city of Hamburg has become the first city to enact a ban on the pods, and has implemented an eco-conscientious purchasing regulation called the “Guide to Sustainable Procurement” that bans single-use coffee pods from all government buildings in an effort to eliminate waste.

Jens Kerstan, Hamburg’s senator for the environment, said that the move, which is part of a bigger environmental drive, sends out an important message. “With a purchasing power of several hundred millions of euros per annum, the city can help ensure that environmentally harmful products are purchased less frequently.”

The announcement of Hamburg’s ban follows news that Keurig’s Canadian sales fell 23.4 per cent in the past year, which is astonishing considering Canadians spent $95 million on single-use coffee products in 2014.

To put things even more into perspective, residents and businesses toss 10 million of the cups into recycling bins each year in Toronto alone despite the fact they’re not recyclable.

Apparently one of the biggest reasons sales dropped in Canada was due to the growing concern for waste, so maybe Canadians are starting to take this seriously after all.

Keurig Canada says that they take this issue very seriously and have a set a goal to make 100 per cent of their pods recyclable by 2020.

In the meantime, Canadians can turn to other Canadian single-use coffee products that are proving to be more environmentally conscious.

To combat waste, Vancouver based G-Pak has created 100 per cent biodegradable single-serve coffee pods that are made with renewable materials and are even compatible with Keurig machines.


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