August 17, 2015

Coffee Pod versus Pot Brewing – Environmental Impacts

A 2015 article in The Atlantic summarizes the arguments in the debate over which is better for the environment – individual pod brewing (such as Keurig’s K-cups) or coffee pot brewing.

Focusing primarily on K-cups, the argument against pods is that some types are not easily biodegradable, recyclable, or reusable. To recycle them, their parts must be separated into paper, plastic, and metal components. And not many facilities specialize in recycling the pod’s specific plastic type.

But a traditional coffee pot brewing is not without its own environmental impacts. Traditional pots use more electricity to keep a pot warm. They also use more coffee. Coffee beans are a water-intensive crop so unused coffee represents wasted water.

The article, citing a journalist who authored a book on coffee use, reports that instant coffee is actually the most sustainable way to make your daily cup o’ joe. So, Sanka, anyone?