We’ve already written about the problems with single-use coffee pods – most of these little capsules end up in landfills, adding to the growing global problem of plastic pollution. There are many alternatives, from biodegradable and compostable pads to refillable pads, but for coffee lovers who are reluctant to switch to sustainable alternatives, there is the Cup Hero. The idea came to inventor Connor Feeney while watching his family make their morning coffee mugs with popular disposable coffee pods, and when he disassembled one he found that the components were all either recyclable or compostable.

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At the same time, separating plastic, film, and organics by hand was too difficult and messy to do on a regular basis. Equipped with a master’s degree in engineering from Northwestern University, Feeney designed the Cup Hero himself and later also took on marketing, intellectual property, sales and finance.

Related: Xoma Superfoods provides single-serving, plant-based coffee options

A green cone-shaped device in front of a tower of coffee pods.

The Cup Hero uses a simple tool to separate the plastic cup, aluminum foil lid, paper filter, coffee grounds and inner plastic ring in less than 10 seconds. Simply insert the tool into the top of the capsule, twist and remove the various pieces. In this way, every component of the disposable pad can be sorted, processed and recycled (plastic and aluminum are recycled, coffee grounds and paper filters are composted).

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A green cone-like device next to a deconstructed coffee capsule.

According to the company, its main goals are to “reduce the amount of single-use plastic that ends up in our landfills, empower individuals to adopt sustainable practices, and highlight a major environmental problem that millions of people contribute to every day – often without” the Realize greater impact. ”The Cup Hero will be available this fall through a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter.

+ The cup hero

Images courtesy of Connor Feeney