That cup of coffee could be killing the environment

Avery Hulong

You want dark roast, but your bestie wants a fresh cup of decaf. Not a problem. It’s an easy situation to manage with the convenience of a Keurig coffee machine. At the toss of a K-cup and a push of a button, you are both satisfied within minutes. They are easy to operate and clean up is a breeze, but we’re paying a lot more for our single-serving coffee than we mean to.

At first glance, those little K-Cups don’t seem like a huge waste. They are, after all, about the size of a golf ball. Yet, when we consider that one in eight American households now have a single-serving coffee brewer- Keurig being the leading brand- it definitely puts things into perspective.

K-Cups are a serious threat to the environment.

Although the plastic coffee pods themselves are recyclable, the process of removing the grounds and cleaning out the used pods is apparently too much work. As a result, the consumers who use them end up throwing out the whole pod into the garbage.

Each pound of coffee consumed sends about 50 K-Cups to the landfill, according to Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss of EarthTalk.

With over 17 million U.S. households and offices in possession of a Keurig brewer, billions of K-Cups are already ending up in landfills every year.

In 2013 alone, Keurig Green Mountain produced about 8.3 billion K-Cups. If we were to line them up, this would be enough to circle the Earth 10.5 times.

With this in mind, the future does not look too bright for a green environment, especially considering sales for K-Cups increased since then.

Some single-serve coffee brewers are trying to find more recyclable ways to package their product. Nespresso, popular for their new home latte machine, produces their coffee pods out of aluminum. Yet K-Cups are made from No. 7 composite plastic, which is not recyclable in most areas, writes Maria Godoy of NPR.

Keurig Green Mountain is currently making an effort to reduce their carbon footprint by discovering new materials to produce their product.

Let’s face it: No matter how much research goes into finding the best way to produce and recycle single-serving K-Cups, people are lazy and the garbage is the most convenient way to dispose of anything.

Looking back to life before the Keurig coffee systems, the process of brewing pots of coffee was never as tedious as people claim it was. But convenience conquers all when it comes to consumerism, even if it means we are contributing to piles and piles of waste.

Let’s not forget that used coffee filters can be composted — with its coffee grounds and all. It was and will continue to be the best choice for the environment.

Dust off that old coffee pot and get back to brewing coffee the old school way. Just like the Keurig, it really was as easy as the push of a button.