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KAB Offers Ideas on Boosting Office Recycling

By Jared Paben

 

Offices will generate more recyclable materials and less contamination if each employee is given a large recycling bin and small garbage can, according to a study.

The study, titled "Recycling at Work: Research to Inform Improved Recycling in the Workplace," was commissioned by Keep America Beautiful (KAB) with support from PepsiCo Recycling and commercial real estate giant CBRE.

"It was important to do this because we see recycling in the workplace as a real potential opportunity to increase recycling," said Brenda Pulley, KAB's senior vice president of recycling.

Over six months in 2014, Action Research studied different recycling and garbage bin configurations in CBRE offices in Atlanta, Boston, Houston and San Diego. All offices had single-stream recycling collection.

The stakeholders tried the following configurations at each employee's desk:

  • Small trash can attached to a larger recycling bin
  • Equal-sized recycling and garbage cans
  • Only a recycling bin
  • Making no changes to the existing configuration but providing recycling information

The first configuration, with a small garbage and large recycling bin, showed the greatest success, according to the report. It yielded a higher percentage of recyclable materials and lower percentage of garbage in recycling bins as well as a lower percentage of recyclables in garbage cans.

Before the project, 79 percent of offices had some amount of paper in garbage cans, but the number dropped to almost zero during the experiment, the report stated.

"Our research clearly shows that by combining specific-sized trash and recycling receptacles, with simple signage and messaging, businesses and other organizations can increase employee participation and improve their rate of recycling of office-generated materials," Jennifer Jehn, KAB president and CEO, stated in a press release.

The "recycling-bin-only" option was unsuccessful and might have actually led employees to throw away recyclable materials they would have otherwise diverted, the report noted. It was unpopular for workers, and four offices dropped out of the survey after they were assigned this configuration, the report said.

http://resource-recycling.com/node/5916?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=READ%20MORE%3E%3E&utm_campaign=RRN%2005-05-15

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Keurig Green Mountain begins to take steps in the right direction

Keurig Green Mountain begins to take steps in the right direction

The last article we posted about the Keurig cups has a bit of an update. Keurig Green Mountain has just released a new product called a K-Mug, which is essentially a travel mug that has a larger pod. This K-Mug pod is ‘recyclable’ according to the company. It is made up of #5 plastic and can be separated from the lid and filter for recycling. According to Keurig Green Mountain, their Vue and K-Carafe pods are also now recyclable, leaving the original K-cups out of the loop. Keurig is taking the right steps to reach their goal of making all of their pods recyclable by 2020, but releasing a new product that features a recyclable pod doesn’t quite have the same impact as changing the K-cups to be recyclable. There are still billions of K-cups going into the trash every single day. It is the hopes of many that Keurig will make all of their cups recyclable before their 2020 goal deadline.

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Recycling Interest Groups Take On Keurig Green Mountain

Recycling Interest Groups Take On Keurig Green Mountain

As an electronics recycler, we see our fair share of plastics that need to be recycled, like computer cases and household appliances. One type of plastic that many people use is the Keurig K-cups and unfortunately they are not readily recyclable. It says on their website that they aren’t and that they are currently working on the problem. They expect to have a solution by 2020, 5 years from now. Most people find this answer to be unacceptable, including the creator of the design, John Sylvan. He has approached the company several times with solutions to this problem and his ideas have been rejected. He actually regrets coming up with one of the most popular coffee brewing designs because of the impact on the environment.

According to several sources, many companies that have tried to fix the problem on their own are actually being sued by Keurig Green Mountain. One company has actually created a plastic clip for the single serve brewer that allows for outside single serve cups; ones that are recyclable. According to this company, the impact of the non recyclable K-cups in nearly unfathomable. “Lined up, end to end, the 9.8 billion 2-inch pods sold by Keurig in 2014 alone would encircle the equator 12.4 times, according to Murray Carpenter, author of Caffeinated: How Our Daily Habit Helps, Hurts, and Hooks Us. The estimated 35.6 billion pods sold by Keurig since 2007 (Green Mountain Coffee purchased coffee-maker Keurig in 2006) would encircle the globe more than 45 times.”

Those numbers are quite shocking, especially for such a short timeline, and are only expected to increase. Most homes and offices have this type of appliance and every single day these cups are ending up in the trash. While Keurig is looking into a compostable option for its cups, most cities lack the infrastructure in their municipalities to make a big difference. They also have the brew your own style cup where you can fill it with whatever coffee or tea grounds you like. The problem is, most people still buy the K-cups because they can just throw them away when they are done instead of washing out the custom brew container. Many third party companies are now spreading the word on the environmental impact in an effort to help the environment and are doing what they can to come up with solutions.

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