Keurig K-Cups are extremely popular. The small, individual-size coffee pods are getting more and more popular at an unprecedented rate. A new article in The Atlantic reports that drip coffee-maker sales are stagnant, while pod-machine sales have increased six-fold since 2008.
You have a Keurig machine in your office, right? Maybe in your home, too?
There is often a dark underbelly to convenience and ease. Keurig technology does not run counter to this.
There is even a robust campaign to boycott K-Cups called Kill the K-Cup (killthekcup.org).
Reasons to throw your K-Cups to the curb:
K-Cups can't be recycled and aren't biodegradable:
Because each pod is so indivudualized and easy to throw out, each pod also includes much more packaging. Each plastic pod goes right into the trash. So easy, but so irresponsible. The cups are made from plastic #7, which is recyclable in only select Canadian cities, The Atlantic reported.
"That plastic keeps the coffee inside protected like a nuclear bunker, and it also holds up during the brewing process. A paper prototype failed to accomplish as much."
(Note: Keurig says it wants all K-Cups to be recyclable by 2020.) In the meantime...
They are insanely popular, making the recycling issue even more pressing:
Almost 1 in 3 American homes now has a "pod-based coffee machine," according to The Atlantic. Last year, sales topped $9 billion. A recent report in Mother Jones reported that in 2013, the number of K-Cups in existence would circle the globe 10.5 times.
They are expensive:
Ease always comes with a cost, but K-Cups are actually more expensive than you might even expect. A pound of high-end coffee (fair trade, roasting and growing process come into play here) is generally less than $20 per pound, but according to some number crunching in The New York Times, K-Cup pods command $50 per pound.
"When it comes to single-serve systems, you’re not just paying for coffee, you’re paying for convenience and the technology that makes it possible to brew a single cup in seconds."
And yet the quality is low:
People drink coffee for all kinds of reasons, and taste isn't always #1. In fact, according to The Washington Post, the boom in K-Cup popularity is due to convenience, more than anything else.
"The bulk of this country runs not on single-drip artisanal coffee, but standard, pre-ground coffee, which, by most coffee snobs' measures, is one of coffee's most inferior forms."