The Boston Bar Association is a busy place. In Op Year 2011, the BBA held 385 Brown Bag programs and 50 CLE’s. Combined with meetings of leadership, steering committees, the Boston Bar Foundation and outside space use, the BBA held a total of 2,269 total meetings, with more than 17,000 people coming through the doors of its 16 Beacon Street headquarters. Early estimates point to higher rates for Op Year 2012.
As you may remember, The Sustainable Lawyer (TSL) recently highlighted some ways that the BBA is going green as far as saving money on electric and heating bills (thanks to an energy audit the BBA requested). Recently, the BBA has taken another step towards sustainability by participating in “Grounds to Grow On,” an initiative of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc.
How did the BBA find out about the program? As part of the BBA’s ongoing effort to be more sustainable, Office Manager Patti Mazurkiewicz wrote to both Keurig and W.B. Mason to inquire if their K-Cups were recyclable. Both directed her to Green Mountain’s “Grounds to Grow On” program. Patti found out more when she checked out the W.B. Mason Trade Show, where she spoke to a representative about starting up the program at 16 Beacon.
Essentially, it works like this:
- Used K-Cups are placed in Keurig “recovery bins” (which are made of 75% recyclable material, ship in packs of 5 and can be reused up to 15 times). Small recovery bins can fit 175 cups; large bins can fit 450. More information on purchasing recovery bins can be found here.
- Once full, the recovery bins are sent back to Keurig’s disposal partner through UPS’s Carbon Neutral Program (the price of the recovery bins includes shipping). Each recovery bin arrives with UPS shipping label pre-affixed, so you can call UPS for a pickup, or give the used boxes to your UPS delivery person.
- The recovered cups are separated into two parts, the coffee grounds and “everything else.” The grounds, which are 75% of the weight of the K-Cup, are converted to compost. The rest of the pack is burned to produce steam energy by Keurig partner Covanta energy. Creating energy from waste (EfW) is one of the cleanest forms of energy generation, is EPA approved, and is classified as renewable energy by the U.S. Department of Energy.
“We have estimated our annual usage of K-Cups at about 9,000 per year,” said Mazurkiewicz. “Grounds to Grow On permits the BBA to (1) prevent that amount of waste from end up in landfills, and (2) turn that waste into usable energy. The environmental benefit far outweighs the economic commitment, so we jumped at the opportunity. “