In a two-decade span, pod-based single-serve coffee machines went from the darling of tech-embracing coffee drinkers to the bane of environmentalists. Like many things built for convenience ahead of other considerations, these devices have proven to be massive contributors of waste, with companies like Keurig selling literally billions of “K-cups” a year, quite possibly all of which are bound for landfills since these pods have until recently been notoriously unrecyclable.
If a glimmer of hope for exists for those looking to resolve the disconnect between their love of our planet and their affection for easy-to-make individual hot cups of (typically not-that-great) coffee, it’s that compostable coffee pods are finally on the market. Last September, Toronto-based Club Coffee announced it was “close to releasing a coffee pod that is 100 percent compostable, meaning the whole pod can go into the municipal green bin.” In a recent article on TreeHugger, one of the site’s writers said he finally came across these pods in the wild. Lloyd Alter said he spotted the so called “PurPods” –billed as “the world’s first certified 100% compostable pods” – at a booth in Dorset, Ontario, run by the local Muskoka Roastery.
Related: ARE YOU ICING YOUR COFFEE ALL WRONG?
For skeptics, Alter confirmed the unique pods, which are made out of a bioplastic constructed, fittingly, from coffee chaff, a waste product created during coffee roasting, have been certified by the not-for-profit association Biodegradable Products Institute and reportedly are able to return completely to Mother Earth in a mere 84 days.
However, TreeHugger also points out the irony that composting programs in some cities, like Toronto where these pods were developed, refuse to take them because, as a Club Coffee spokeswoman said last year, “With so many of these pods out there, they're afraid of other pods that aren't biodegradable going into the green bin and contaminating it.” Yes, laziness and ignorance created a love of pod-based coffee machines and now those same problems are keeping them stuck in the Dark Ages.
In the end, though, Alter’s most valid point may have nothing to do with compostable coffee pods at all. “It still makes no sense, buying an expensive machine to make inferior coffee that costs four times as much per cup,” he writes. A good point. Whether or not you care about the environment, you could at least care about the quality of your coffee.
[h/t Grub Street]