DENVER (KDVR) — A coffee shop in the Five Points neighborhood is eliminating the guilt that comes with to-go drinks by offering glass jars in place of plastic cups for just a quarter.
“We do have a dream that many local specialty coffee shops could join forces and accept jar returns from fellow shops further encouraging exploration and a reduction in waste,” coffee director and roaster Kevin Mayberry told FOX31 in an email.
Hearth is not alone in the effort. Mayberry said Unravel Coffee has been offering glass jars for a while now, and that gave him the confidence to pursue the idea.
Mayberry said the positive response from the community has been overwhelming. While some prefer a more compostable option, particularly those traveling, he said they aren’t confident that recyclable cups are being recycled, or that compostable cups are being composted.
“We have to assume that most single-use cups end up in a landfill. Glass can be reused so many times and confidently recycled afterwards, which reduces our impact,” he said.
In fact, Colorado is behind the national average when it comes to recycling. According to reports from Eco-Cycle, nearly 6 million tons of material were sent to landfills in Colorado in 2021, but 95% of that waste could have been recycled or composted.
Hearth works with other local businesses to ensure its products are as sustainable as possible, Mayberry said. They compost coffee grounds, paper products and food waste with the local woman-owned composting company Wompost.
The glass jars are locally sourced, too. Mayberry said they get the jars from Amen Packaging, and while each jar does cost significantly more than single-use cups, they decided that if most jars were used multiple times, everyone wins.
“We started with a very minimal deposit of 25 cents per jar to help us cover additional costs, but without heavy participation from our community, we would be losing financially,” he said.
Hearth still does offer single-use plastic cups for those who prefer it. Mayberry said they are doing everything they can to make sure that the to-go glass jars will be a long-term and practical program.