Jarod Morse, a biology junior, has collected 350 to 400 K-Cups since last winter semester.
He said he started the endeavor after working with the SVSU greenhouse. The different systems it uses, such as hydroponics and aquaponics, use circular cups that are purchasable but made of out plastics. Morse’s boss, greenhouse manager Edward Meisel, recommended they try using K-Cups instead.
“I wanted to do a little bit more research about K-Cups, and I started collecting them with intent to use them for those systems,” Morse said. “Then, we realized what a challenge it would be to modify them, realizing that the cup is a No. 7 plastic. It’s made out of a conglomerate of all these other plastics. To modify them, the plastic is so scrappy. It couldn’t be done.”
Morse said the greenhouse can use the coffee grounds to feed its worms.
“Luckily, the worms will eat the coffee grounds,” he said. “That’s one of the other big motivators for me to collect them from the greenhouse. … Why throw away the grounds when the worms can eat them as well? So, I would feed the worms and keep this number seven plastic out of the trash.”
While Morse said he did not do enough research about K-Cups before beginning to collect them, he said he did not regret his
decision to do so.
“I am big into activism,” he said. “ I want to advocate for the environment … I wanted to go to the offices and ask them to use reusable cups, but I didn’t know how to have those conversations yet. There are those reusable cups that you can buy yourself, but it’s the efficiency sake.”
Morse said the main problem with getting people to switch to reusable K-Cups is the extra time they take to use opposed to the disposable cups.
“It takes three seconds to put a scoop into your reusable K-Cup,” he said. “Why can’t you do that? But in the time and age we’re in, where everything is quick and rapid, no one has three extra seconds to spare apparently.”
Morse is still collecting K-Cups and plans to use them for the environmental education RSO Cardinal Leap.
“I co-founded Cardinal Leap this year with the intent to educate people about the environment,” he said. “Having all these K-Cups, I wanted to see what we could do with them. Pinterest has a lot of great ideas that I’ve started to look in to, whether it’s a Christmas wreath or a lamp. Those types of things are what I intend to do with them now that I’m stuck in a pickle.”
Morse said Cardinal Leap members discuss the environment using scholarly and news articles.
“The organization reinforced my K-Cup collection,” he said. “We read all these articles about single-use plastics, and then I can’t throw them all away now.”
Besides collecting K-Cups, Morse also keeps track of single-use plastics consumption.
“I’ve been collecting my single-use plastics, and I am just shy of two Pringles potato chips bag full of my single-use plastics,” he said. “I can press them, but I keep them in my room as a reminder, ‘This is what you’re consuming.’”
Morse said an easy way students can control their plastic use is by limiting how many single-use plastic bags they consume.
“Going to the C-Store, they only have single-use plastic bags,” he said. “There are a couple of alternatives we could look into. I haven’t talked to the C-Store, but, for a student, all you have to say is, ‘I don’t want a plastic bag, please.’ Because you’re already using a single-use plastic in the sense that you’re buying everything prepackaged.”
Morse said he hopes other students realize the impact their actions can have on the environment.
“I want to keep K-Cups because I want to lead by example,” he said. “It’s important for people to recognize that they can do more than they will allow themselves to believe. So, just taking individual steps can go a long way. You can take matters into your own hands, and everything you do doesn’t go unnoticed. It does matter.”
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