It’s estimated that one in three homes in the U.S. has a single-serve coffee maker. The invention of the single-serve coffee maker has revolutionized the way people prepare coffee within their homes. But unfortunately, it has also created a major problem.
The Problem With Pods
The leader in the single-serve coffee maker industry is Keurig. Sadly, most of the single-serve Keurig coffee pods that are sold by the dozen are not recyclable or biodegradable. Due to the overwhelming popularity of single-serve pods, the fact that they are not recyclable or biodegradable is a major problem. In fact, it was reported that enough Keurig plastic pods were sold in 2014 to circle the world more than ten times. The vast majority of these pods–and the millions sold in the years since–are now sitting in landfills.
How Manufacturers Are Solving the Problem
Many eco-conscious consumers were outraged to learn that the majority of Keurig pods could not be recycled. As a result of this backlash, Keurig introduced several lines of recyclable pods sold under the brand names K-Mug, K-Carafe, and Vue. The company also vowed to make all of their single-serve pods recyclable by the year 2020.
Even if Keurig meets this goal, they will not be the first single-serve pod manufacturer to achieve this accomplishment. A number of competitors, including Nespresso and Starbucks, are already producing recyclable coffee pods. But, the Nespresso pods are designed specifically for the Nespresso machine, and the Starbucks pods can only be used with the company’s Verismo machine. Since Keurig machines are far more popular than both of these models, many people have no other choice but to continue purchasing Keurig pods.
How to Recycle Single-Serve Coffee Pods
As of right now, there are many single-serve coffee pods that are recyclable and many that are not. If you’re a coffee drinker, it’s important to do your part to protect the environment by only purchasing recyclable coffee pods.
To determine if a coffee pod is recyclable, look on the packaging for the plastic number. Coffee pods that are recyclable are typically made out of plastic #5, whereas pods that are not recyclable are made out of plastic #7. Try to avoid purchasing plastic #7 coffee pods since these will end up in a landfill.
Before tossing a plastic recyclable pod in a recycling bin, be sure to peel off the aluminum top. This top, along with the coffee grounds inside the pod, will need to be thrown away before the pod can be recycled. If you throw the pod inside a recycling bin before removing the top and coffee grounds, it may no longer be recyclable.
All Nespresso coffee pods are made out of aluminum. To recycle these pods, you will simply need to remove the coffee grounds and toss the pod into your recycling bin. If your local recycling center does not process any aluminum products besides cans, you can ship your used pods to Nespresso using a prepaid shipping label. Customers also have the option of bringing their used pods into a number of stores, including Nespresso boutiques and Williams-Sonoma.A lot of coffee pods are not eco-friendly. But luckily, eco-conscious coffee lovers do not need to say goodbye to their morning cup of coffee. By following these tips, you can ensure your coffee addiction is not damaging the environment.