Single Serving Coffee Convenient, But Environmentally Costly

Over the last several years, one of the trends sweeping the coffee industry has been the advent of single-serving coffee machines and products, best exemplified by Keurig, the brand of coffeemakers that lets users brew one cup at a time. These devices are great for those times when you need a caffeine fix but don't need to brew a whole pot, which was traditionally the only option for most office workers. But the K-cups – containers filled with micro-ground coffee that make one mug of coffee each – are typically disposable, non-reusable and made from non-recycled, non-biodegradable plastic. In essence, if everyone began using a Keurig machine or a similar device, landfills everywhere would begin filling up with used K-cups.

The single serving coffee trend demonstrates one of the major drawbacks of the disposable, one-time use culture that is so attractive to many Americans but so disastrous for the environment.  This presents a dilemma for those who love the convenience of such products but want to maintain a green lifestyle.

The good news is that some companies are taking notice of this problem and responding by developing ways to make such industries more sustainable. Canterbury Coffee Corp. has created single-serving coffee cups that are 90 percent biodegradable, using resin and paper that will breakdown in a landfill or anaerobic compost bin. In addition, some companies have created reusable K-cups that can be refilled for multiple cups, giving environmentally conscious consumers the advantages of the Keurig system without all the waste.

That these businesses have responded to customer pressure to provide more sustainable, responsible products shows the power that green living advocates can have when they make their voices heard. Keep visiting as we continue to provide news about the latest environmentally friendly products.

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