One cup of joe, but at what cost
A few Christmases ago, a friend gave me one of the best gifts ever: a single-cup coffeemaker that uses little paper pods filled with coffee.
The perfect cup of coffee every time.
Lately, however, I’ve had a difficult time finding the pods in stores, so when an aunt gave me a brewer that uses little plastic single-serve cups filled with coffee, I accepted it and ordered boxes of these cups from the manufacturer, which also boasts of delivering the perfect single serving of coffee.
Both brewers live up to their claims, but I have a problem with the plastic cups.
What do I do with all the discarded ones?
With the pods, discarding them was easy: Because they are made from paper, I could actually just add them to the soil of my many potted plants and to the rose bush, tomato and hibiscus plants in the yard. The paper is biodegradable, and the coffee serves as a great fertilizer.
Burying plastic isn’t a good idea.
What I ended up doing was pulling the aluminum top off, dumping the coffee into a bag and adding the plastic cup, the paper filter inside and the top to my recyclable stash.
The problem is that the process is so tedious. Fortunately, I drink only one or two cups of coffee a day. I would be hard-pressed if I drank any more than that.
Another problem is that when I checked out the manufacturer’s website to see if it had recycling options, I found that the aluminum portion isn’t easily recyclable because it has a special coating on it that hinders the process. The company says it’s working on a system for high-use areas (not sure where those are) that will at least use the grounds as compost. I’ve found that it’s actually easier to recycle the brewer itself than the plastic cups that hold the coffee.
Fortunately, I never gave up my search for the coffee pods for my other brewer, and I found some while vacationing in Hawaii. Why is it that I could find them in Hawaii but not in Georgia?
No lo se.
So incredibly tedious was my attempt at recycling that when I ran out of the plastic cups, I went back to using the pods.
I’ve noticed that my work headquarters has the plastic-cup coffeemakers all around the building. I assume that the vendor collects the used ones, but I wonder what happens to them.
Are the cups recycled or simply tossed?
Do you use a plastic-cup brewer? You know, the one that begins with a K? What do you do with the used ones?
Maybe we can put our heads together to come up with environmentally friendly uses for them.
I would love to hear from you.
Meanwhile, I’ll continue using the pods, when I can find them, or I’ll use the reusable plastic cup that I recently found for $11 online that allows me to put my own coffee in it and not have to worry about where the waste goes.
- What Are Coffee K Cups? (notageek.org)
- The Myth of Biodegradability (boss.blogs.nytimes.com)
- International Home + Housewares Show 2012: Reusable Filter Cups for Keurig Brewers (core77.com)