Upcycle your used capsules with TerraCycle
TerraCycle is the world's leader in coffee capsule recycling. In 2014, enough coffee capsules were sold that if placed end-to-end, they would circle the globe 10.5 times! Municipalities do not have the processing lines up and running to recycle capsules that come into their facilities, and if they do receive them, they will end up going to the landfill or incinerators.
TerraCycle recycles and upcycles waste instead of incinerating or landfilling it, which is a significantly better solution for waste than traditional methods. With the help of TerraCycle, we can reduce our waste and turn our used coffee capsules into something new.
To see an example of TerraCycles work, visit our Burlington or Ancaster store! We have benches that are made by TerraCycle from 100% recycled products... including the used k-cups® you have returned to us!
Participate in our Program
We have partnered with TerraCycle to bring this program to our Ancaster and Burlington locations! If you wish to participate in this program, all you need to do is bring your used Keurig® or Nespresso® capsules, or Flavia Freshpacks in a clear plastic bag to our Burlington or Ancaster store. Our staff will collect your capsules and insert them in our reusable TerraCycle collection box. We accept used capsules from a wide variety of brands.
Once our TerraCycle box is full, we package it and ship it back to TerraCycle so they can start the upcycling process! The plastics from the capsules are turned into a wide variety of durable & high end products, from park benches, planters and gardening supplies, to tote bags and even office supplies.
Here is a list of Nespresso® and Keurig® compatible capsule brands that we will be collecting as part of the TerraCycle program.
We accept most k-cups® and Nespresso® Compatible Capsules sold by ECS Coffee, with the exception of Keurig® branded capsules (Look for the black Keurig® symbol on your capsule. If the capsule doesn't have this, we accept it). We will update the list above as more brands come on board! Click here for a printable list of accepted brands.
FAQ About the Program
Which capsules can you bring back?
We are accepting capsules from the brands listed above. Click here for a printable list of accepted brands.
Do coffee capsules need to be cleaned and emptied of coffee or tea before bringing them back to a store?
Capsules do not need to be separated, emptied or cleaned - simply bring the full capsule back to us! TerraCycle uses the coffee grounds gathered in the recycling process to create compost for farms. We only ask that you return your used capsules in a clear, plastic bag.
Why can't we bring all of our capsules back / other brands?
This initiative is a partnership between our customers, ourselves and our vendor partners. The cost to upcycle just one capsule is approximately 10 cents. If we accepted every brand and assumed the cost ourselves, this program could not happen. We are happy to have the partnership with a number of brands offering over 250 varieties of capsules. And while we have the support of many of our vendors as listed on our website, there are a number of reasons a particular brand is not yet included:
• They currently have their own initiatives that they believe address this issue such as a recyclability claim.
• They have their own program. Nespresso for example has their own program for Nespresso branded capsules. We are hoping to become a drop off point for that program later on this year.
• Some compostable capsules are made with materials that cannot be accepted in this program, but can be composted in a backyard or industrial composting facility.
• The cost is too high for some companies and the amount of their capsules in the marketplace would make this program unsustainable.
We are hopeful that if your brand is not listed as one that can be returned at this time that you will allow us to offer you a free coffee in our store to try a participating brand.
What happens to capsules once they are returned?
ECS Coffee sells a lot of capsules that are not returnable. This contradicts the upcycle policy you have.
You are correct. We continue to sell capsules that are not a part of this program. We are realistic about this and know it will take time. Many people have their “go to” coffee and do not want to change regardless of the impact. However by giving our customers transparency to what actually happens to coffee capsules and by offering an alternative we are confident we can make a difference.
ECS Coffee is developing achievable, measurable Environmental goals in our company for 2020 and beyond and our ultimate goal is to become a zero waste company. This is a big job for us and we are proud of the successes and investments we have made in the last two years.
Beyond the Terracycle program we continue to invest in cleaner technologies for our company and our President is working closely as a Board advisor with a Canadian company aiming to make the first truly compostable capsule on the market. Expected to launch sometime in 2020.
We believe we can continue to:
1. Add more brands to this initiative
2. Convert customers to brands that are a part of the ZERO waste program.
3. Offset or eliminate our own footprint.
Our goal is to provide complete transparency on this matter. And while not perfect, we believe that it will continue to improve and get better.