Keurig K-Cups are Killing our Planet

Keurig K-Cups are Killing our Planet

An ounce of waste for every cup of coffee–that’s what Keurig is doing to our planet. And I’m pretty sure that all the glue guns in the world can’t fix this problem.

Sure, that may not *literally* equal the giant K-Cup monster that destroys that nameless city like a boss in the video above, but it’s a damn good metaphor.

Even Keurig’s inventor (who, to be fair, sold his invention and now has to watch it making millions of dollars that he does not get to have) claims that he sometimes regrets his invention, in part because of that environmental nightmare that is landfills full of K-Cups.

Keurig K-Cups are Killing our Planet

And Green Mountain? The K-Cup is all that’s needed to 100% kill that company’s former eco-friendly cred. Even its promise to make a fully-recyclable version of the K-Cup is more laughable than praise-worthy, since that promise is apparently meant to be kept by 2020.

Sooo…. little less time than it took to put a man on the moon, LOT less time than it’s taking to put a woman on the moon–that’s how much time it will supposedly take to make a recyclable K-Cup. What is this, an assignment for the interns? Can’t throw any of that $800 million in last year’s sales at the problem?

Here at CAGW, we get loads of emails from people begging for ways to upcycle K-Cups. And seriously, Friends, I’d love to help you. But also…

Seriously? A K-Cup is, like, a little foil lid–with a HOLE in it!–11 grams of ground coffee (at least you can compost that), and a little plastic cup–with a HOLE in it. What the heck am I supposed to make for you out of that?

This genius uses them to embellish twinkle lights. So there’s three dozen or so down for you.

Scott found some people who use them as paint and glue containers. Just, you know, cover the HOLE in the bottom first.

But all the crafting in the world is not going to find a use for all the K-Cups that it takes to circle the globe 10.5 times.

I can’t believe I’m saying, this, y’all, but crafting is not going to solve this one for us.

Video credit: Kill the K-Cups via Egg Studios

Image Credit: Rob Hainer /

6 thoughts on “Keurig K-Cups are Killing our Planet”

  1. Jon Gabrielson

    I like the Keurig but I don’t buy those expensive wasteful cups. I bought some reusable cups. It takes all of about 3 seconds to dump the grounds in the trash (or compost) and rinse out the container. I bought the ones called “Cafe Cup” but I think they are all about the same. I bought 4 in a pack for $10 so when I’m in a hurry I don’t have to rinse one out. I can pick my own coffee and I actually waste less as now instead of making a whole pot I can only make one cup.

    1. Another pro that I have heard is that a Keurig lets you use a much smaller amount of grounds, also contributing to less waste. It’s awesome for those with the gumption to find a solution to the wasteful K-Cup, but most people–and I’m imagining my mother here, who uses Keurig, upgraded around Christmas to their new model, discovered that it won’t “read” any of her non-proprietary cups, and is far too baffled by and uncomfortable with technology to rig a fix–are really going to need Keurig itself to come up with a solution to clean up its own mess.

  2. Too bad the author didn’t do in-depth research before publishing this article. San Francisco Bay Coffee Co. is currently promoting a 97% biodegradable k-cup and is working towards 100% biodegradability. I realize that means they aren’t recyclable and you won’t be able to make them into cute little thingies, but not a bad effort on their part. I imagine we’ll see other companies investing in the biodegradability aspect as well.

    1. The trick to figuring out what the article is about is to look up top, at the title. This article, “Keurig K-Cups are Killing our Planet,” is right above the author’s name, which you also might have missed. It’s about Keurig’s K-Cups, not the non-proprietary cups.

  3. I briefly thought about getting a Keurig when I started drinking coffee as I only drink one cup and I am the only one in the house who does. However, I couldn’t stand the thought of going through all those little cups. Not only are they a drain on our landfills, but they can get pretty expensive. When they came out with the reusable cups I thought about it again, but by then it just wasn’t worth the loss of the counter space. My hubbies office just got a Keurig (he is the only one who doesn’t drink coffee) and I think I might get each of the guys a reusable cup and their favorite bag of coffee.

    1. That’s awesome! Too bad it’s nowhere near Christmas, because that would be the best office gift ever!

      I actually have what I call my “emergency Keurig” on my writing desk. My mother bought herself the new version of Keurig, and discovered that it wouldn’t read any of the boxes of non-Keurig cups that she had, or the reusable cup that she’d bought online. So of course, instead of putting up a big stink to Keurig or learning how to hack it on YouTube or returning the new version, she bought all new Keurig K-cups and gave me all her old stuff.

      Now sometimes, in the middle of the day, if I’m having a writing emergency, I’ll brew myself a cup of coffee without even getting off my butt, and it feels ridiculously decadent. After I drink up these boxes of non-Keurig cups, however, I’ll probably put the Keurig away, and bring it out when we have houseguests, perhaps.

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