(This is an article and infographic we published at work on National Coffee Day yesterday. I know it's a controversial subject, and I don't want anyone to feel guilty if they own a Keurig or other type of coffee pod machine! But it's such important information that I wanted to share here on my blog. Thanks to my coworker Austen who helped write this.)
Are you one of the millions of coffee drinkers who own a single-serve, pod-style coffee brewer?
Because we care about the health of our people and our planet, we do not permit the use of these coffee pod machines in our offices. Here’s why:
- Your health matters. Heating plastic is a dicey business, releasing potential toxins into our food and drinks. Coffee pods are made from an unclassifiable composite of plastics, which can contain potential carcinogens (such as polystyrene).
- The planet’s health matters. More than 13 percent of Americans drink coffee from single-cup brewers every day, creating waste that mostly cannot be recycled. Coffee pods are made from a mixture of paper, plastic and aluminum, which means they are not recyclable. So our coffee-drinking habits are flooding our landfills with huge amounts of trash. In 2011, discarded coffee pods could have circled the planet six times. Last year, the most popular coffee pod company sold 8.3 billion cups, which, end to end, could encircle the earth in waste 10.5 times.
- Single-serve coffee pods cost two to three times more than other options. Not taking into account the cost of the coffee machines, individual coffee pods cost about US$0.50-$0.60/cup versus $0.25/cup for coffee beans. If you already own a coffee pod machine, you could save US$200 to $600 just by switching to a reusable coffee filter!
- Our clients count on us to walk our talk. We all contribute to a corporate culture where we show our clients that environmental efforts matter. Choices, like the types of coffee makers that we use, reinforce our global commitment to sound business practices and environmental care.
But let’s talk quality. And speed.
The good news is you can enjoy fresher coffee for much less money by using a single-cup drip filter or French Press. (Keurig also makes a reusable coffee pod filter, the My K-Cup, which is on sale on amazon at the moment for just $5.33!) Fast, easy, awesome cups of joe.
- CNBC. 2012. “Spent Keurig K-Cups Filling Up U.S. Landfills.” http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000072389. February 9.
- Ferdman, Roberto. 2014. “The World’s Growing Love Affair with the Most Wasteful Form of Coffee There Is” in Quartz. http://qz.com/193138/the-worlds-growing-love-affair-with-the-most-wasteful-form-of-coffee-there-is/#193138/the-worlds-growing-love-affair-with-the-most-wasteful-form-of-coffee-there-is/. March 30.
- Oatman, Maddie. 2014. “Your Coffee Pods' Dirty Secret” in Mother Jones. http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2014/03/coffee-k-cups-green-mountain-polystyrene-plastic March 19.