Do you have a coffee brewer that takes single-use plastic pods such as Keurig or Verismo, etc.? If not, bravo! They're the popular choice among coffee drinkers this day and age because the pods are so convenient. But even the inventor of the K-Cup himself regrets that they exist. K-Cups are almost impossible to recycle because they first have to be separated into their plastic, paper, and metal parts. They clog landfills at an estimated rate of 2 million more per day, and take about 30 years to decompose! To quote beverage consultant James Ewell "People want convenience, even if it's not sustainable.". What a way to summarize the problem, huh? But what is the solution? Keurig is working on a 100% recyclable or compostable pod, which they've stated will be launched by the end of 2020. Meanwhile, here are some other ways we can combat the issue:
-Consider kicking your caffeine habit. Caffeine is generally safe in moderation, but it is habit-forming. If your coffee habit becomes excessive, it can lead to unwanted side effects. If giving up caffeine isn't in the cards for you, read on.
-Switch to tea. There are all sorts of fun and cute accessories for loose leaf tea. If you prefer the convenience of teabags, as many do, note that many of them contain some amount of plastic. Pukka Herbs and Teapigs are two brands in particular that make plastic free, completely bio-degradable bags.
-If tea isn't your bag (see what I did there?), you can see whether a compatible, reusable coffee pod is available for your machine. These are usually made of plastic too, but if you have 1 or 2 cups of joe per day, a reusable pod vs. single-use will add up over time and make a big difference. Keurig makes their own. Nespresso doesn't but there are some after-market types available online. Triple check for compatibility with your machine before committing to those purchases.
-Switch to a brewer that uses a filter & coffee grounds system. This method will cut out the need for single-use pods. Coffee pots have come a long way since the days of glass on a hot plate. Black & Decker makes a pretty sleek single-serve filter type brewer. Keurig K-Duo Plus has both a K-Cup spot and a filter type for ground coffee. This option might be best for those of you who will need time to slowly transition away from the single-use pods, or just like the idea of having options.
-Switch from drip-style coffee altogether and go with a french press. A french press is a device that submerges coffee grounds into hot water for a few minutes rather than seconds like a drip. Coffee connoisseurs may have their ideas about drip-style versus press, the effect on flavor, etc.. I'm strictly speaking from an environmental standpoint. If you need a rundown, there's a link below on how to use a french press. The french press is a quick and easy way to brew coffee responsibly and can be used over and over again, especially a high-quality one.
What coffee brew method do you use? Have you tried any of the ones described above? Drop me a line and let me know what you think!