It’s thought that one in three American homes use K-cup coffee machines. And it’s having dire consequences on the planet. They’re causing so much damage, even the creator regrets making the product.
John Sylvan sold his company well back in 1997, disgusted with his creation. Initially, he felt his convenient coffee machine wouldn’t take off to be a hit. And when they were, the damage was done, so what impact are K-cups having on the environment?
How Are K-cups Impacting Our Environment?
You might think these small little pods couldn’t possibly cause so much damage; I mean their tiny, right? The problem is the sheer quantity that’s being sold. It’s thought that over 75 million homes use K-pods every day.
Not only is that a crazy amount of coffee being consumed, but this results in a massive influx of trash ending up in our landfill systems. But, the real problem comes with their inability to biodegrade or break down in any way.
This leads to a whole host of problems; for one, the overflow quite often ends up in the ocean. During strong winds, the little coffee pods can easily be picked up and blown into the sea, resulting in damage to our marine life.
It’s not just the marine life that’s becoming under threat; humans are also feeling the effects. Toxins are released from the plastic and leach into the soil, which is then absorbed by plants and fish.
And before we even dispose of the K-cup, we’ve already caused potential harm to our body. Heating any plastic will allow the plastic particles to leach into your coffee. The chemicals have been known to cause fertility problems as well as hormone problems.
Luckily there’s something you can do about it:
The Beauty Of Biodegradable K-cups
If you want to help make the earth a greener place, then there’s no better place to start then biodegradable K-cups. They cause far less harm to the environment than classic k-cups, and they taste just as great.
The beauty of biodegradable K-cups is they don’t use plastics and aluminium foil. You can chuck them away guilt-free knowing they are going to biodegrade. But this isn’t the best option; waste rarely biodegrades in landfills.
“So what is the best way to dispose of them?” I hear you ask:
Because biodegradable K-cups are made using natural materials, which means they can be composted. This is by far the best way to dispose of them.
Coffee grounds are full of natural minerals that are great for getting plants going. To compost, the pods effectively tear the pods in too little pieces and leave it in your compost with your food waste.
If you don’t compost yourself, you could always send them to commercial composting, which is the quickest and most effective way for them to biodegrade.
If you’re looking to make the switch here are some of my favorite biodegradable K-cups, they all provide bold flavors while saving the planet:
*San Francisco Bay
*Tayst Coffee Roaster
If, for some reason, you can’t switch to biodegradable K-Cups, please, for the love of God, at least make sure you recycle them.
The Truth Behind Recyclable K-Cups
I’m going to let you into a little secret; all K-cups can be recycled. The problem is they can’t be recycled as a whole. This is because K-cups are made up of four primary materials:
This means the materials need to be separated before you send them to the recycling plant. It’s not as hard as it seems, and with the right tool takes a couple of seconds. Just follow this handy guide:
The How Too Guide Of Recycling K-Cups
Recycling K-cups is easy like I said. You just need the right tools and a little tiny amount of time. Check out this four-step guide:
1)Make sure you leave the pod to cool; you don’t want to burn your hands.
2)Load the K-cup into the wire cutter tool.
3)Press both green buttons simultaneously, while holding them pressed twist the cap around the pod once.
4)Release the buttons and lift the cap up to remove the upper section of the pod
After you’ve completed these four steps, you’re left free to dispose of the parts in the best possible fashion. This usually means composting the coffee grinds and paper filter and recycling the aluminium and plastic.
What To Do With Non-Recyclable K-Cups
The process of recycling does come with an extra cost, splitting them without the tool is pretty tricky. So, if you can’t recycle them, why not reuse them, in some ways is better for the environment:
Here are some neat little tips for reusing your non-recyclable K-cups:
Tiny Hanging Plant Pots
You can use the tiny little K-cups into great seed starter. And to give it a bit wow factor, why not connect them a piece of wire or some string. This way, as the plant starts to grow, you’re left with a stunning little display of plant pots.
Arts And Craft Sessions
If you’re not sure what to do with all of your old K-cups, give them to your child or a school. Children can always find the most imaginative uses for things. Why not organize an art and crafts session and see what they can come up with.
I know it sounds strange decorating your household with trash, but there are some pretty ingenious uses out there. One person used them to make a white globe lampshade, and I have to say it looked pretty cool.
K-cups are causing detrimental harm to our environment, so much so, Berlin banned the sale of them within the city. But, things can change if we all take a step over to biodegradable K-cups.
And if you absolutely can’t make the switch, then please make sure you recycle them. Or even better reuse them, recycling aluminium results in harmful byproducts that end up in the landfill any why.
Remember, every small action can have a huge result.