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How Bad are K-Cups for the Environment?

There is nothing like the convenience of being able to put a pod into a coffee machine and have it automatically brew a cup of perfectly made coffee. One of the most commonly used methods of doing this involves K-Cups. However, despite being incredibly convenient, they have been widely criticized for the harsh reality of their impact on the environment. It is well-established that K-Cups are bad for the environment, but just how bad are they?

A Breakdown of How K-Cups Breakdown

While K-Cups do have a portion of their material being recyclable, it is the size of this portion which is the issue. Only about 5 percent of a K-Cup is made up of recyclable plastic. The other 95 percent are composed of a number seven composite plastic, which is unable to be recycled in the vast majority of places.

The issues do not stop there. The 5 percent of recyclable plastic is not easily accessible in the standard packaging. The K-Cup is constructed in a way that a filter, grounds, and plastic foil sit on top of recyclable plastic. This means that gaining access to that percentage of recyclable plastic is incredibly hard, since the materials are not very easily separated.

With an average of about 10 billion K-Cups being developed every single year, that is a lot of coffee pods that are ending up in landfills. This would not be such a big issue if K-Cups did not take so long to break down in landfills. Due to their high concentration of non-recyclable plastic, K-Cups can take anywhere from 150 to 500 years to fully break down. Some basic math indicates that in the amount of time that it takes only one batch of K-cups to break down, there would be anywhere from 1.5 to 5 trillion new coffee pods dumped into landfills.

Better Alternatives to K-Cups

Some companies have realized the environmental threat that these K-Cups pose and have worked to develop improved versions of K-Cups that are better for the environment. One example is the BPI Certified, 100 percent compostable Glorybrew pods for Keurig® machines. These pods are proven to go from their standard packaging form to becoming completely clean soil in a matter of only twelve weeks. This significantly reduces the environmental impact that the pods are having.

The way that these parts are able to do this is through their 100 percent eco-friendly material packaging. Rather than being composed of harsh plastics that are unable to be broken down, these plant-based materials are able to be disintegrated with minimal effort. So rather than contributing to the retreating space in landfills, these Glorybrew pods contribute to the Earth's amount of clean soil.

To experience the same great tasting coffee while also being able to enjoy the guilt-free experience of knowing that it is environmentally friendly, check out our line of five different blends of coffee that come in 100 percent compostable Glorybrew pods for Keurig® machines.