Vancouver’s ambitious aim to become “zero-waste” by 2040 necessitates innovative solutions to revamp its waste disposal system.
Enter Perk Eco, a fledging enviro-tech startup dedicated to transforming the coffee industry’s waste materials into planet-positive sustainability.
In collaboration with the City of Vancouver and the Vancouver Economic Commission, Perk Eco is one of nine BC-oriented companies selected to pilot technology at a new “Zero Waste Demonstration Site”—an initiative for commercializing eco-tech as well as an opportunity to connect with potential investors, partners, and clients.
Perk Eco was founded on the belief that doing right by people and the planet should positively impact a business’s bottom line. In this vein, the company has honed in on a ubiquitous problem: single-use coffee cups.
Contrary to popular belief, coffee cups are recyclable, and Perk Eco is on a mission to spread this message far and wide.
“Now, more than ever, eco-minded coffee customers wanting a cup to-go have one choice: The single-use cup,” the company states, adding “that cup should be recycled, not landfilled.”
Toward this goal, Perk Eco offers a solution to coffee shops for sorting and recycling cups and other products which promises to divert up to 90% of waste while creating new revenue streams.
“One of the barriers to good recycling in coffee shops is proper sorting,” the startup believes.
The process is straightforward, according to Perk. Coffee shops can get a quote using their postal code, then choose a monthly plan, and from there can receive a free recycling kit. Perk Eco collects waste on-demand—upcycling, recycling, or composting coffee industry waste materials from any Canadian postal code.
“Delight [patrons] with the courtesy of a sorting station with no-fail instructions,” the company offers. “Customers will also feel confident that their cups are actually getting recycled.”
The results are not only environmentally friendly but also aesthetically pleasing, says Perk Eco—one experiment produced colourful coasters made from recycled Blenz, Tim Horton’s, and Starbucks cups.
“While cups can be recycled, that usually means they are down-cycled into other single use materials like tissues,” Perk Eco explains online. “We’re innovating a new solution; up-cycling cups into beautiful, durable products that showcase the beauty of the high quality pulp that cups produce.”
Some of the “green cafes” that leverage Perk Eco’s solution are Sorry Coffee Co in North Vancouver, Two Sparrows Coffee Bar in Nanaimo, and Anvil Coffee House in Edmonton.