Haleigh Missildine, Guest Writer
K-Cups are small, single-serve coffee pods that people can use in their Keurig coffee makers. Keurig also makes them for tea and hot chocolate for those who don’t drink coffee or want something different. Instead of brewing a whole pot of coffee, people can brew only enough coffee for a single cup.
The invention of K-Cups may be convenient, but it is not good for the environment.
Inventor and founder of Keurig K-Cups, John Sylvan, is not only upset about selling his share of the Keurig company for far less than it’s now worth, but he’s upset about the environmental implications of this product that is increasing in popularity.
New York Times journalist Murray Carpenter reported on the environmental concerns about K-Cups in 2010, but the issue didn’t become widespread until its inventor told The Atlantic that he didn’t even own one. He even said that drip coffee is just as easy to make.
By 2014, enough K-Cups were sold that they would circle the globe 10 and a half times if they were placed end-to-end, according to a viral video titled “Kill the K-Cup.”
Pacific Lutheran University sophomore Ashley Connors mostly uses a MyK-Cup, which is a reusable version of the original.
“[K-Cups] are terrible for the environment, because they’re very rarely recyclable or compostable,” Connors said. “That’s why I use the reusable one most of the time.”
PLU environmental studies chair Kevin O’Brien appreciates the convenience of Keurigs but fears the environmental cost.
“I hope that we can get better at carefully thinking about the full costs not only of K-Cups, but of every disposable and mass-produced item in our lives,” O’ Brien said.
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, the company who makes K-cups, said it plans to design a recyclable K-Cup. This organization said it hopes that each pack will be 100 percent recyclable by 2020, according to their website.
Until Green Mountain Coffee Roasters comes out with a fully recyclable K-Cup, students who want to help the environment should buy reusable K-Cups or brew drip coffee instead.