Let’s start the new year by doing something good for the planet. I don’t mean armchair activism. I mean something you can actually do.
Deep-six your Keurig coffee maker.
I know. Pop a K-cup (a pre-measured dose of ground coffee in a plastic-and-metal pod into a Keurig, and a few seconds later have a hot cup of joe. That’s so convenient — but it’s ecologically tragic.
You may already know why: Almost all K-cups end up in landfills — they can’t be recycled. And they’re not biodegradable.
You may not know the ecological significance of that fact. Consider:
The last available information says that more than 9.8 billion K-cups have been sold. How many? Consider just 2014 sales: If you placed all the K-Cups sold in 2014 end-to-end, they would circle the globe 10.5 times.
Pod-machine sales have increased 600% since 2008. And the trend is ever upward. Keurig’s corporate mission is expansion to the point of global ubiquity: “a Keurig brewer on every counter and a beverage for every occasion.”
These figures disturb environmentalists. Some made this hilarious video:
The nightmare scenario in the video is not so far-fetched. John Sylvan, who created Keurig, now thinks he invented a Frankenstein: “I feel bad sometimes that I ever did it.”
Is there any good environmental news? Yes: Because Keurigs don’t keep a pot warm, they save electricity. That’s it? That’s it.
One alternative is everything I suggest in A Guide to Great Coffee. Grind coffee beans — I continue to vote for Mayorga Cubano Dark Roast Organic Café. Use a Melitta drip pot or a French press coffeemaker. Transfer the coffee to a thermos or a Zojirushi Stainless Steel Mug.
Or you can achieve ecological purity by brewing a single cup of coffee with a device that makes just one cup of coffee at a time — the Hamilton Beach Single-Serve Coffee Maker.
You start with ground coffee. Spoon it into a filter. Later, empty and rinse the filter and refill the small water tank. That’s a lot of work for infinitesimal environmental virtue. But it’s worth it just for the drinkability factor. Because it takes longer for the water to drip in a single-serve coffee maker than it does in the Keurig — an 8 oz. cup takes 90 seconds, a 14 oz. travel mug in under two-and-a-half minutes — you get a richer, more authentic cup of coffee.
You have two choices.
The basic model does one thing: brew a filtered cup of drip coffee. The Hamilton Beach Single-Serve Coffee Maker brews 3 kinds: K-Cups, Grounds, and soft pods and costs $37.05. [To buy it from Amazon, click here.]
The Hamilton Beach Single Serve Scoop Coffee Maker takes only ground coffee – no K-cups or pods — but it’s actually more versatile. You can set the coffee maker to match the grind of the coffee. You can adjust the cup size. It’s got more stainless steel. It costs $39.88. [To buy it from Amazon, click here.]
A small step for your self-respect. And not much of a step for coffee. But… it’s a start.
This article originally appeared on The Head Butler
Photo credit: Getty Images