After literally a decade of trying, Keurig has finally found a way to address complaints about its product’s environmental impact: It’s made recyclable coffee pods, as the New York Times reports. Hooray. What heroes.
Keurig is the originator of the K-Cup, those single-serving coffee pods that create enough waste each year to wrap around the planet nearly 11 times. K-Cups have long provoked the ire of environmentalists, even inspiring a horror film in which an enormous K-Cup monster terrorizes city streets.
K-Cup monsters may only be the things of nightmares (and YouTube), but coffee pods truly are bad for the planet. K-Cups are made of impossible-to-recycle plastic and so the 9 billion units sold in 2015 alone languish in landfills. Even John Sylvan, the K-Cup’s inventor, has regrets about creating them. And let’s be real — the coffee’s not great either.
The problem with this development is that that even recyclable coffee pods are still wasteful. You don’t need a $100 device and special containers to make a cup of coffee; all you need is a fire, a cowboy hat, and a tin cup. Alternately, there are French presses, reusable filters, percolators, and your neighborhood espresso bar — all better options than K-Cups, recyclable or not.
If however, you cannot live without your precious coffee pods, they are on track to start rolling out by the end of the year. Just don’t forget to recycle.
Get Grist in your inbox