There Are Now Compostable Coffee Pods

The single serve coffee craze has changed the way we brew and consume coffee. As recently as last year a fourth of all American coffee drinkers were using single serve coffee makers according to Statista.

The classic American coffee break has gotten a makeover. Recent figures show that single-serving coffee brewing machines such as Keurig were the second most popular brewing system after standard drip coffee makers, with 25 percent of American coffee drinkers using them in 2015. The growing popularity of single-serving coffee brewing is a curious phenomenon considering the cost of such a habit. Price comparison shows a unit of K-cups, the small capsules containing a single serving of coffee grounds in small filter, command nearly 20 U.S. dollars more than a unit of traditional roast-and-ground coffee. But for many consumers, the efficiency, quality, and array of choices offered by this machine supplies a convenient alternative to the local coffee shop.

But a big downside to single serve coffee has been the mountain of plastic containers that this system produces. Last year we asked if organic coffee in a K-cup made sense because whatever benefit was being derived from organic coffee production was being offset by the waste of the single serve system.

Billions of K cups go into landfills each year. If part of the reason you drink organic coffee is that you want to protect the environment then even organic coffee in a Keurig K cup is a problem.

The situation has gotten so bad that some cities have simply banned this product. But help is on the way.

Compostable Coffee Pods

There are now fully compostable coffee pods according to an article in Grub Street.

A Toronto-based company claims it’s created the first-ever entirely compostable single-serve coffee pod. Instead of plastic, the pod (PurPod100) uses a material made from dried coffee-bean hulls (sometimes called the cascara or chaff) that, with a few notable exceptions, companies generally throw out. There’s also a fully compostable filter at the base. The whole design purportedly breaks down in about 84 days on average, and it’s already been certified by the Biodegradable Products Institute, a nonprofit that bills itself as North America’s “leading authority on compostable products.”

If this product works and makes its way into the supply chain for single serve coffee it could reduce the damage caused by mountains of plastic cups. The problem for getting this product to help is getting people to separate their trash so that the PurPod100 goes to a composting facility. As or right now Toronto, where this product is produced, is not impressed. The main fear is that people will throw all single serve cups including K-cups with a thousand year or more life expectancy in the same bin and the compostable coffee pods that are said to break down in 84 days.

Do It Yourself

This is not to say that you cannot buy the compostable coffee pods and compost them yourself or save them up for six months and take them to a composting facility. There are now compostable coffee pods. It is up to coffee drinkers to make correct use of them.

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