Friday, June 4th, 2021...3:25 pm

Recycled Alternatives to Driving a Car

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By Da Beattie

Everyone knows that driving a car pollutes the environment. But in the middle of a pandemic, convincing yourself that the subway is safe may be more difficult than usual. Also, an anomaly associated with the pandemic is that many Starbucks locations have been closing, but instant coffee machines such as Nespresso and Keurig are simple alternatives. Inserting a pod and pressing a button is faster, cheaper, and saves a disposable coffee cup. But where do all these disposable pods go?

Keurig cups are made of plastic, foil, and coffee grounds and so, they cannot be dumped into your home recycling or your compost bin. According to the Keurig Canada website, you can easily peel off the foil lid, which is not recyclable in Toronto, scrape out the coffee grounds and add them to compost. The remaining plastic #5 cup is recycled. Keep in mind that in Toronto, black plastic is not recycled, and not all Keurig cups may be fully recyclable.

The recycling process for Nespresso pods is much easier from a user’s point of view. Collect your used capsules in a Nespresso recycle bag and drop it off at a Canada Post or a Nespresso store. The pods will then relocate to a facility that separates the coffee grounds from the aluminum. The isolated coffee goes to compost, and the aluminum gets recycled. The aluminum from Nespresso pods is recycled into bikes. Although bicycling is good exercise and can be a low carbon source of transportation, Trek Bikes states that the average bike made by Trek requires travel of 430 miles to offset carbon emissions during the production of the bike. On the other hand, Nespresso and the European company, Velosophy, are amongst the first companies to produce a bike whose frame is made out of recycled aluminum. Velosophy is also the first bike company that has made a one-for-one promise to help girls in developing countries attend school. Even though there is minimal reduction in the production costs, said companies are taking environmental initiatives to recycle material like aluminum, minimize waste, and encourage healthy living – for ourselves and the planet.

Recycling plastic is also a great alternative. Bureo Skateboards collects abandoned and polluted fishing nets, which overwhelm the oceans and shores. Their facility processes them into pellets that get remoulded into skateboards. Although skateboards are not as easy to ride as bikes, Bureo has also partnered with many companies, including Trek Bikes, to make a water bottle holder out of recycled plastic.

These are just a few initiatives taken by small and big corporations to reduce, reuse, and recycle (our favourite Rs), where plastic and metal have been repurposed to make alternatives to driving a car. No effort is too little.

Sources Used:

Trek Bikes 2021 E-bike Catalog

One for One

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