There is no denying the rising interest in pod-style coffee and tea devices. This billion dollar business has drawn jealous looks from coffee and tea companies everywhere as Green Mountain’s patent ensured their lock on the market. In September 2012, the business potential changed as those patents expired and companies hungry for a share of the market put forth their alternatives for use in Keurig and other similar machines.
While the convenience of the “k-cup” is unquestionable, it comes at a cost. Most pods have not been recyclable, raising substantial concerns about the long-term sustainability of the product line. Canada’s Mother Parkers Tea & Coffee is looking to put a greener alternative in the hands of customers.
Mother Parkers has released the EcoCup, a new pod that offers convenience but increased recyclability. The cup is made of polystyrene which can be recycled in #6 streams. The plastic is deliberately clear, allowing for greater flexibility in its recyclability and future uses. (Plastic with coloration or ink must go into the “black stream” for recycling and is less valuable to recyclers.) The filter which holds the tea can be adjusted to different heights within the cup, allowing for variations in the steep times of different teas. After the cup has been used and cooled, a tab allows for the removal of the filter material and lid. The leaves or grounds can be composted and the cup can then be recycled.
“Anyone in the business who plays down the waste factors (of k-cups) is being disingenuous,” said John Snell, Director of Tea Procurement and Development at Mother Parkers. “We truly believe that within the next 5-10 years, (environmental sensitivity) will be the cost to entry in these agro-centric industries.”
Oakland, Calif. based Numi Tea will be taking its first steps into the single-serve tea space using the Mother Parkers EcoCups.
To read more: New York Times