Toronto-based social enterprise, Go Java, has finally taken the step we all needed – they are recycling the coffee pods we all feel guilty about tossing in the garbage! The small business has quickly grown across Toronto and its major suburbs, providing home and office delivery of your favorite coffee pods for all single serving coffee and tea machines. Providing bins and recycling services, upon your next delivery, they take away all your used coffee pods and have found a way to recycle every part of them!
Below is a Q&A with co-founder Eugene Ace of Go Java.
Tell us the story of Go Java and how it all began!
My friend and co-founder Evan and I were both working at a company that provided refreshment services (water and coffee) to offices across Canada. We were both working on a project to expand our coffee business and we witnessed first hand the impact that coffee pods such as Keurig and Tassimo were having. They were becoming very popular because they are so convenient, but they were also starting to have a serious impact on the environment because they were non-recyclable and headed for the landfill.
We knew that the technology was available to recycle coffee pods, but there were no good solutions in the market for consumers at home or at the office. So we saw an opportunity to create a service that would allow consumers to recycle coffee pods for free. The service we came up with is very easy to use. Customers go to GoJava.ca and place their order for their favorite coffee pods (we have a huge variety of the most popular products). From there we deliver the coffee and give customers a bin to collect their used pods. Then on each subsequent order, the customer simply leaves their used pods outside of their door on delivery day and we collect them and take them back to be recycled. It’s a free delivery and free recycling service and there is no premium for any of the products we sell.
How do you find Go Java has influenced companies in the Greater Toronto Area to be more aware of how much garbage they produce and how to dispose of it properly?
Our customers are usually already well aware of the problem and feeling guilty about the amount of coffee pods that they are using and sending to landfill. When they find out about GoJava and our recycling service, they are really excited to have the option to recycle the coffee pods instead of throwing them in the garbage. We find that we are providing a solution to a real problem that customers are already aware of. Before we came along, they just didn’t have a choice, but now they do.
Can you explain in detail how you properly recycle every part of a coffee pod?
When we collect coffee pods from our customers, we aggregate them and send them off to a recycling processor where the coffee pods get shredded and the coffee is separated from the various plastics that make up the coffee pod. The coffee is then used by local farmers as fertilizer and the plastic goes into a mix which is made into plastic lumber. The plastic lumber is then used in things like decking, park benches and playgrounds.
Do you plan on expanding into new regions of Ontario, or maybe throughout Canada and the U.S.?
We are starting in Toronto because it’s where we live, but we hope to take our service to major markets across Canada and into the U.S.
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I am a social entrepreneur. That means I use business as a catalyst for social goodness. I am deeply passionate about sustainable travel, zero waste living, ethical fashion and social good. I currently run North India's first zero waste guesthouse, Hara House, and am the Content Director at Causeartist.