A major criticism of single-cup brewing systems in recent years has been the simple fact that they're creating tons and tons of waste every year. Even if you think that your organic, fair trade K-cup is doing the planet a favor, the biggest detriment to the planet might just be the cup itself. Here are two distinct, easy ways to help out the planet while still getting your morning cup of java without feeling guilty.
One of the most convenient parts of single-cup brewing is the disposable, flimsy plastic that is just so easy to pitch after its 15 seconds of use. Since this is what makes the cups so disposable, it's the best place to start when you want to cut down on your plastic waste. Thicker, heat-proof brewing cups will stand up even after several cups of coffee with the same cup, all while cutting down your waste exponentially. Another hidden advantage to this system is that you can fill the cups with any kind of coffee you'd like, meaning you won't have to aimlessly peruse your local grocer or your favorite online coffee supplier to try to find your favorite roast or flavor.
Another way to help your planet without affecting your morning routine is by switching to a K-Cup that is intrinsically more environmentally friendly, i.e. one that is recyclable. Some K-Cup packs are made with a more stout design and are partially recyclable. If you want to use your same machine, then using a cup that has a mesh bottom will eliminate a significant portion of the waste associated with the all-plastic versions. In addition, there are K-Cups that will allow you to brew an entire carafe of coffee. This means that if one K-Cup carafe serves five people, then a single K-Cup can be used instead of five individual K-Cups needed to produce single cups of coffee for the same number of people.
With great power comes great responsibility, and nowhere is this saying more true than when considering the incredible power vested in coffee drinkers around the world when introduced to single cup brewing. This power is too often used to create waste, but it's not too late to start turning around the environmentally toxic misconceptions around single-cup brewing by using new developments like durable and recyclable brewing cups. The choice becomes even more clear when you realize that these options will also expand your choice of coffee if you choose to go the durable route. Either way, if you reach for a reusable or recyclable K-Cup next time you're at the grocery or coffee store, such as 11th Street Coffee, or shopping online, you'll be able to sip with the knowledge that you did your part to help sustain the planet that morning.