K-Cups help fuel Kamloops cement plant

WATCH: Lafarfge construction in Kamloops may have found one way to ease the burden of Keurig K-cups on the environment. Jeremy Hunka reports.

Keurig K-cups have revolutionized the way we get our caffeine fix , but they also have consequences for the environment. It’s estimated that billions of the little plastic containers ended up in landfills last year, leading to calls for a sustainable solution.

A Kamloops factory believes it has found at least one way to help deal with the waste, converting the coffee pods into fuel that helps create concrete.

“K-Cup is one of the alternaitive fuels we’re using here at the site,” says Eric Isenor of the Lafarge Kamloops Plant. “It’s got a biomass component as well as the plastic and tinfoil and it’s able to substitute for coal here at our site.”

Lafarge has been using coffee pods since 2013, burning through 1.4 cups million last year alone.

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“Since the inception of the K-Cup, it’s always been an environmental concern,” says Aaron Fileger, SVCS branch manager for Van Houtte Coffee. “So if there is something we can do to help that, then we’re all over that.”

The Keurig K-cup has been associated with controversy. Even the creator of the K-Cup has expressed regrets about the invention, telling a magazine that”I feel bad sometimes that I ever did it.”

Some question whether burning coffee pods is a real solution.

“When you’re talking about burning plastic instead of coal, it’s perhaps a tiny little step in the right direction, but it comes with a lot of consequences,” says environmentalist Ben West. “It’s not the kind of stuff we want in the atmosphere.”

Like it or not the idea is gaining steam with pods arriving at the Kamloops plant from across B.C. and soon Alberta as well.

-with files from Jeremy Hunka and CFJC

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