Keurig’s Coffee Cups a Danger to the Environment?
Published: Sunday, January 29, 2012
Updated: Sunday, January 29, 2012 20:01
Since its rise to popularity in 2006, the Keurig Brewing System has been as incredible addition to any home or office kitchen. Recently, the Keuirg's popularity has reached entirely new levels, making it one of the primary sources for coffee brewing no matter where you have your cup.
There really is no question as to why these coffee makers have become such a hit. The Keurig simply uses one K-cup, a small plastic container of coffee grinds, per cup of coffee. The machine allows the coffee drinker to not only choose their favorite flavor but also make one single serving of coffee without having to worry about drinking an entire pot.
With the Keurig's incredible convenience, it has been more than easy for people to overlook some of the flaws that come with the system in the past. However, as more controversy surfaces regarding the pollution to the environment that the system may cause, it's important to take a step away from the excitement and ease of the Keurig and acknowledge the flaws.
The K-cups, are made up of three equally important layers. The outermost layer is completely impermeable and has to be in order to keep out the contaminants that may ruin that fresh-tasting coffee. The next layer is simply Keurig's specialized filter, and then on top of the cup is an air-tight foil lid. Most of the environmental problems lie in the outermost layer. Because it is made so strong in order to protect against light, oxygen and moisture, is not biodegradable and therefore never gets broken down after it is thrown away. The foil on the lids of these cups is also to blame for these products not being recyclable, as it is made specifically with a polyethylene coating which is necessary for the Keurig brewing process.
The Keurig company acknowledges this problem with their product and is currently working on finding a solution. In a message to the public from the Keurig website, the company discusses their efforts stating that, "It is a challenge to create a portion pack that is recyclable and delivers an extraordinary cup of coffee; however, Keurig is actively working to meet this challenge head on."
Despite efforts to find a biodegradable version, researchers continue to struggle to uncover a completely feasible alternative to the already-successful K-cup. In the meantime, there are a few simple ways to reduce the pollution caused by Keurig use. There are a few popular items people are using with their K-cups to insure that the environment stays clean while they still get their morning caffeine.
One of the most popular of these items is the "My K Cup," which is a reusable coffee pod made by Keurig. Used in place of the disposable K-cups most coffee is found in, the "My K Cup" acts almost like miniature coffee filter that slides right into place where the K-cup would normally go. Even if it means washing and re-filling the "My K Cup" after each use, this alternative is simple in the fact that it works just as well and helps the environment too.
A second eco-friendly option for Keurig coffee drinkers, is the "My Kap" system, which is essentially a plastic cap that allows for reuse of each disposable K-cup many times before it's thrown away. To use the "My Kap" system, the plastic K-cup is simply rinsed out after use, filled with coffee grinds again and then closed up with a reusable cap that fits over the top of the pod. Even if each disposable cup is only reused three or four times, it is still reducing the number of pods that may be piling up in the landfills.
Even if Keurig has its environmental drawbacks, the company is intent on finding ways to remedy the situation. Still, while they continue to search for solutions, using some of the company's alternatives are easy ways to remain eco-friendly while still enjoying the coffee and brewing system that everyone loves.
"All companies have sustainability challenges," the Keurig company website continues. "What we believe makes us different is how we address that challenge—by embracing it, by running towards it, and using that tension to drive us towards new solutions."