Due to both their convenience and the wide variety that is offered, coffee pods have become commonplace in office spaces. However, the environmental impact of these little pods are often overlooked. Since recycling them can be challenging (not all municipalities accept #5 plastic), almost all coffee pods end up in landfills. In 2014, there were enough K-cups sold that if placed end-to-end, they could circle the globe 10.5 times (The Atlantic).

Thanks to Nicole Schmidt and Stephanie Brewer’s initiative on this issue, Chapman’s Strategic Marketing and Communication Department is now working with a company that ensures proper recycling of coffee pods. TerraCycle, an innovative recycling company, makes recycling hard-to-recycle waste easy. The company offers waste specific boxes that can be ordered, filled, and then shipped back for proper recycling. Below, Nicole and Stephanie answer questions on why they wanted to take action on this issue and what the implementation process was like. We hope they inspire you to help make your own department more sustainable!

What initially brought you to be interested in purchasing the TerraCycle Box?

We’re passionate about sustainability and figured if our department was going to supply k-cups for the office, then it’s only fair that we be environmentally responsible by discarding them properly, especially since we go through so many!

What environmental issue do you hope the TerraCycle Box will help address?

We hope people think a little more about what can and can’t be recycled, how to recycle properly and perhaps eventually think about an even larger issue – how much waste we produce as individuals and how to minimize that waste.

What other steps does the SMC team take (or hope to take in the future) to create a more sustainable office space?

We currently send a weekly SMC e-newsletter to the team on the happenings of the department and we’ve started including a green tip/fact in each one. We’re also having Mackenzie come speak at our SMC team meeting in June on ways we can be more sustainable, which we are really excited about!

How easy was it to get the TerraCycle Box approved and then implemented in your office?

Jamie, Chapman’s VP of Marketing and Communications, was very supportive of us getting the box and was excited about the idea for our team. I worked with our Operations team to have the purchase approved by the legal department. Once we had the approval, working with EarthHero, the site that we ordered the box from, was very easy and efficient.