Billions and billions of disposable coffee pods known as k-cups are tossed into garbage cans each year. This year's Solving Problems With Design Thinking class identified the problem and designed a solution.
Our solution was to find a way to separate the k-cups and direct each material to the best place to avoid waste.
In 3 weeks we collected nearly 400 k-cups.
For 3 weeks we tested our solution at GEMS, made adjustments, and created an exhibit in the C-Building Lobby to share our work. The following is an FAQ about the project in the words of students from the class.
"They are a problem because you can't recycle them easily so we took them apart to figure out how to use them."
"They are just a very big waste and you can only compost some of the parts."
"They are not environment friendly and cant be recycled all together, caucusing waste."
"The plastic cup part is not compostable or recyclable."
"The K-cups are not recyclable after being used so they get thrown away. This is not safe for the environment.
They are wasteful."
"We had a group brain storm and we built things to make the process go faster."
"We brain stormed a plan on what to do with each part of the k cups, and we formulated different tools to help us do so."
"We made a system to take a k-cup apart to be used in other ways that is not the trash."
"As a team we decided to make a tool that helped when cleaning the K-cup. Two to three people would work in a group that would focus on K-cups in a different way."
"Yes it was effective, because we had a quite easy job on cleaning the k-cups and creating different uses for them, and what we could do with each part of them. What we could not reuse was composted or recycled."
"I think that it was very effective, and recycling the k-cups was fast and took minimal effort."
"Yes it was effective because we got 396 k-cups and we made a lot of crafts."
"Yes. We came up with about 400 k cups, throughout three weeks of hard work and designing. We also made different things with them."
"Yes, if we could find a place that could combine the grounds into fertilizer and we could have the plastic melted into different objects, recycle the tin foil and the filters could be composted. This could save our landfills from overflowing with k cups and would help with keeping landfills in check by recycling."
I think that it could definitely be used elsewhere. If enough people were willing to participate, then they could be recycled.
"Yes, but that would mean that every one would have to lend a hand to the project to make boxes and also to collect dissemble and clean."
"We found a way so that each part of the k cup could be used for something in a useful way."
"I learned that Little things that we use in every day life style can have a big thing in waste problems."
"When you work as a team, projects get done faster and more efficiently."
"I have learned that people can solve most problems by putting their heads together and finding out a solution."
"I learned that if we work as a team we can get many things accomplished."
"I learned that you sometimes have to work with people you find annoying and k-cups are super wasteful."