K-cups generate a large amount of unrecyclable waste, so they aren’t necessarily good for the environment. However, Keurig is trying to make their products more sustainable.
Anything that involves single use disposable products is not ideal. Just as using a new Starbucks cup is not sustainable, K-cup single use isn’t either. The K-cups of coffee require multiple layers of materials to insulate and keep the coffee fresh. However, these layers make it impossible to recycle the K-cup containers. A much better alternative is using a reusable coffee mug every morning. Check out more info at Keurig’s website.
Obviously the K-cups produce more waste than traditional brewing of coffe because they are each individually wrapped, but if you look at the whole picture I don’t think that they are necessarily that much worse. While they do use a lot of plastic for packaging, they don’t use the traditional filters and there is no chance of using more coffee grounds than you need or making more coffee than you need that you just throw away. The machines also use a little bit less energy if you really only make one a day because they are designed to produce single servings as opposed to several servings of a traditional coffe maker. I would say that they are probably worse for the environment just because the benefits of using them don’t add up to the negatives of the extra packaging, but as a whole I doubt they are that much worse in a circumstance where it is just one or two being used every day. Keurig is also planning on making the K-cups either recyclable or better for the environment.
K cups aren’t recyclable and they aren’t compostable. Keurig’s website gives the environment a bunch of lip service, but it amounts to nothing substantial. They are just using gilded language to state that they have no solution whatsoever at this time.
The most laughable statement is that “We are working to identify the right definition of “environmentally friendly” for our packaging.” Sure, this is typical corporate behavior. If you can’t meet an environmental standard, redefine the standard. Please do not fall for this pathetic attempt at a smokescreen.
Traditionally ground and brewed coffee is, on the other hand, completely compostable, as well as 3-to-4 times less expensive per cup.
The only things K cups have going for them are convenience, and a slight edge in freshness of flavor. I personally do not feel these outweigh the added monetary cost and environmental waste.
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