Keurig Green Mountain, the maker of the convenient coffee machine likely sputtering in your office at this very second, wants everyone to know that it is finally making K-Cups that are recyclable. In a recent announcement, the company said it is on track to meet its goal of making 100% of its plastic coffee pods recyclable by 2020. But the newest change really won't make K-Cups any less wasteful.
After years of facing intense criticism for its products' negative impact on the environment, the company is launching all-new K-Cups later this year that are made out of polypropylene and can be recycled like other common plastic bottles and containers, according to a report by The New York Times. Although the new cups could help reduce the billions that are sent to landfills every year, the report notes the new recyclable K-Cups are not compostable and not reusable, and critics say they will ultimately be just as wasteful as they are now.
Look at it this way: Keurig makes enough K-Cups to circle the Earth multiple times every year, and with the new version, Keurig will continue to make enough K-Cups to circle the Earth multiple times every year. The only difference is that they'll be recyclable. For its part, Keurig said it's continuing to work on making K-Cups more sustainable.
"When you look at the trends toward single-serve generally, you can either villainize it, or you can fix it," Monique Oxender, Keurig’s chief sustainability officer, told the Times. “We’re trying to fix it.”
And while the new cups will be recyclable, that doesn't mean they'll end up being recycled. As the Times explains: "Consumers will have to remember to put it in the recycling bin, if they have one. They also should peel off the aluminum top -- a messy process that gets coffee grounds under fingernails." Sort of spoils the convenience of using a K-Cup, right?
Ultimately, the change may result in fewer K-Cups polluting the planet, but there will be just as many reasons to consider using another brewing method.
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Tony Merevick is Cities News Editor at Thrillist and has found the reusable K-cup pod to be pretty great for brewing some coffees. Send news tips to email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @tonymerevick.