Canadians love coffee.
Canadians consumed 152 litres of java per capita in 2015, more than any other country in the world except for Finland and the Netherlands. Single-serve coffee pods have created an unexpected environmental cost to all that coffee brewing. The original plastic pods aren’t recyclable and go straight to landfill.
But Toronto-based Club Coffee has a solution: the world’s first completely compostable coffee pod, made with 89 percent renewable materials to boot.
Now big names like McDonald’s and Loblaws are using the filters to market their single-serve coffees in Canada, along with environmentally conscious roasters like Bridgehead and Muskoka Roastery.
From humble beginnings.
Part of what makes Club Coffee’s pods innovative is the ring attaching the lid to the filter. Not only is it compostable, but it’s made from repurposed coffee bean skins, or “chaff”. In other words, it finds a use for a byproduct of the coffee roasting process that is typically disposed of. That achievement came in part thanks to the University of Guelph’s Bioproducts Discovery and Development Centre, which initially experimented with these kinds of bioresin building blocks.
It’s a prime example of how public research can help drive new commercialize-able ideas and push private sector innovators past the early uncertainty of developing new products. Now the Ontario government is considering requiring that all coffee pods sold in the province be compostable. It’s a policy shift that could help pull Club Coffee’s innovation into the global market, not to mention cut down on unnecessary waste in the province.
How else can governments help companies like Club Coffee get their innovations to market?
Businesses, entrepreneurs and researchers across Canada are developing clean innovations that are important parts of Canada’s move to a stronger, cleaner economy. Once a clean innovation is proven, the innovators need help making their product competitive and getting it to market.
Government has a role to play in catalyzing private sector initiative. Find out how through Smart Prosperity's work on Accelerating Clean Innovation.
WATCH: Canadian Press goes inside Club Coffee’s compostable coffee pod factory.