“I feel bad sometimes that I ever did it,” said John Sylvan, the creator of K-Cups, in a recent interview with The Atlantic. Apparently, he never imagined them taking off like they have, let alone causing widespread environmental degradation.
These days, billions upon billions of K-Cups end up in landfills every year as one in eight homes has one of the machines. Yet, when the inventor himself feels regret, it might be time for the world to take a second look at the clever contraption that is almost certainly killing Mother Earth.
5 Reasons to Kill the K-Cup
1. The Cups Are Wasteful
The eye-popping statistic is that the K-Cups sold in 2013 alone could circle the earth 10.5 times. That’s insane. Even worse, since their creation, over 60 billion cups have already ended up in landfills, enough to go around the earth 75 times! Something that large is hard to wrap your head around, but it clearly needs to stop.
2. The Cups May Never Be Recyclable.
Amidst the controversy and outrage surrounding Sylvan’s statements and a short viral video parodying Keurig’s shortcomings, the company has pledged to clean up their act and make the cups fully recyclable by 2020.
But that’s a long time off, and Sylvan, amongst many others, is sceptical that it can be done at all. Or that even if it were to be, it might still require people to be diligent about sorting out the materials, which seems highly unlikely at best.
3. The Cups Are Overpriced
A number of cost comparisons have been done, but the long and short of it is that you are paying at least twice as much per pound as you should be. Even Sylvan thinks they’re too pricey. For the money you spend you could be getting top-quality beans, like Kicking Horse Coffee.
4. The Cups May Not be healthy
While nothing has been proven definitively, the heating of the secretive #7 plastic blend used in the cups can’t be awesome for your health and could possibly be carcinogenic. Plus, the beans aren’t fresh!
5. Even The Machines Aren’t Recyclable.
Made of non-recyclable plastic, they are really the icing on the cake of environmental destruction.
Kick the K-Cups, Not the Habit
While K-Cups should rightfully become a thing of the past, coffee drinking should not. More and more science shows that drinking coffee offers myriad health benefits including reducing your risk of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, diabetes, liver disease, and depression. You may even live longer.
To help the environment you can brew coffee the old-school way with paper filters, or by using a newfangled bean-to-cup machine. By all means, keep drinking coffee—just maybe not one K-Cup at a time.