The Unfortunate Truth about K-Cups


We all try to do our part, when it comes to mind and is convenient. I have always wondered the actual impacts of doing these “little good deeds”. Just recently I opted out of buying a Keurig, it was a very hard decision. I have always had an issue with the amount of waste the is produced from such a magically convenient and addicting machine. Before making my final conclusion to buy a more tradition (“old school” if you must) coffee maker, I did a bit of digging on the notorious K-Cups.

On average, “1 in 8 American households have a single serving coffee brewer” (Godoy). Since the inception of the Keurig company there has been around “60 billion K-Cups that have gone into landfills” (Godoy). These numbers alone were enough to shed light on the daunting amount of waste created from this product and how I personally couldn’t bring myself to participate.

Keurig is however, quite aware of the bad environmental reputation. With “17 million U.S. households and offices”(Sheer) using their product, Keurig has made attempts to remedy the environmental impact their product has. Firstly, they launched a “Ground to Grow program in 2011”, where offices fill K-Cup recovery bins. Which in turn get shipped to Keurig’s disposal partner, where the waste is turned into compost. Currently the company has, “set ambitious sustainability targets to achieve by 2020″(Sheer). The main focus being a 100 percent recyclable K-Cup.

With the current status of the Keurig system I regretfully purchased a coffee maker with both a craft, as well as a reusable single serve option. However, I am interested in seeing how Keurig evolves in an ever changing environmentally conscious market.

Godoy, Maria. “Coffee Horror: Parody Pokes At Environmental Absurdity Of K-Cups.” NPR, Accessed 25 Oct. 2016.

 Scheer, Roddy & Moss, Doug. “The Environmental Impact of Coffee ‘K-Cups’.’ Business Ethics, Accessed 25 Oct. 2016.

Image: Accessed 25 Oct. 2016.



3 thoughts on “The Unfortunate Truth about K-Cups

  1. Its crazy that the makers of the k cups understand how their product isn’t sustainable and are actually going public with these findings but water bottle companies haven’t. Hopefully the k cup company can find a way to make the product sustainable.
    -Edwin Doll


  2. I have read a quote from the creator of Keurig that says the regret ever creating it because of the awful environmental impact. But if people are using them for the purpose of only making one cup of coffee/tea, it is so easy to use the reusable/washable k-cup. You just put your coffee or tea into the cup, snap the lid closed, and pop it in like a disposable k-cup. Making tea this way may even be more environmentally friendly than using tea bags! It is good that the company has recognized their negative impact and is working toward ways to eliminate and reduce the waste that have created and will create!

    -Chelsea Walters


  3. Coffee made in a French press is better, cheaper, faster and greener than a K-cup. My press is from Starbucks and cost about $15. Once is started using it, I drastically reduced coffee bought in stores.

    Coffee is a big part of my life and the French press improved my overall quality of life.



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