United States– Over 13% of all business and 10% of all homes have a single serve coffee maker in them. This new way to wake up has revolutionized the coffee drinking game. There are over 300 single serve coffee makers on the market and thousands of varieties of drinks. The main attraction to this product is that it cuts down on waste but that is just not the case.
It may reduce the amount of wasted coffee but it is increasing the amount of problems in landfills. Over a hundred million pounds of empty plastic pods made their way into landfills last year and that number is rising as popularity continues. With over 9 billion cups brewed already this year, companies are looking at ways to curb the negative impact this product is creating.
This is a problem that is just getting the attention that it deserves. The initial response to this issue by single serve coffee makers was that consumers should dissemble the plastic from the foil top and dispose of them accordingly. As we all know that is too much work for Americans and would rather pay for environmentally conscious single serve coffee.
Many companies such as OneCoffee are on the forefront of making biodegradable capsules. Other distributors are taking the compostable approach and making a product that can be thrown in with other food waste. Keurig, the industry leader has taken a lot of heat but is fighting back appropriately with various solutions.
“In 2011, the company started a pilot-scale take-back program for corporate customers, where coffee grounds are sent to a compost facility and the rest of the materials incinerated in a waste-to-energy plant. The company also sells a refillable K-Cup filter.” Says Kuerig founder John Sylvan
With many new products, the benefits often overshadow the disadvantages until it becomes a major problem. The solution to this issue begins with the manufacturing. Single serve coffee companies need to create a product that does not commit any harm to our environment. But until then I will not be the one to stand between someone and their coffee.