Single serving coffee pods are becoming a staple item in offices across the world. Unfortunately, they are becoming permanent fixtures in landfills as well. Despite their tiny size, the trash adds up quickly: Keurig Green Mountain, which is just one of dozens of single serving coffee producers, made more than eight million coffee pods last year. If lined up next to each other, that’s enough trash to circle the globe more than 10 times!
About 20 percent of Americans use a single brew machine every day. The appeal of single serving coffee machines is easy to understand. You can have a hot, freshly brewed cup at any time of the day with no need for clean up. You may also think that you’re saving money by ensuring no coffee goes to waste, but that’s not necessarily the case. Believe it or not, even espresso machines with built-in grinders are cheaper to operate than capsule machines in office environments considering the volume workers consume. According to The New York Times, single serving coffee costs more than $50 per pound whereas a bag of roasted beans usually costs less than $20, so making the switch back to traditional brewing could save you money in addition to saving the environment.
If that’s not enough to convince you, consider how single serving machines might affect your health. All of the components that make up coffee pods are getting baked along with your coffee as hot water filters through it, so you’re likely ingesting tiny particles of metal, plastic and nylon. A few manufacturers have introduced biodegradable pods, but recent evidence has thrown their health risks into question. While Keurig claims that the plastic in their K-Cup pods is BPA-free, such plastics can still emit estrogenic activity that can damage human cells.
The trend of quick and easy single serving food products is on the rise as Keurig recently announced a similar machine for soup. Though it may seem like a tempting idea, using single serving pods has a negative effect on the environment, your health and even your wallet. Making coffee the old fashioned way pays off for everyone in the long run.