Friday, March 17, 2017

Quick cup of coffee, quick kill to the environment

As time goes on, humans value time so much they create products to accommodate this value. The creator of the Keurig machine, John Sylvan, recently told The Atlantic that he 'feels bad sometimes that he ever did it.' To the unfamiliar, the Keurig machine is the Coffee Maker's cool younger brother- innovative, smart, and manages to get tasks done quicker than others. The Keurig is made for the perfect cup of coffee, using these singular pods to get the job done. However, it's been discovered that these pods, the "K-Cups" are actually harmful to the environment, hence the creator's regret.

killthekcup.org produced a video that discussed the issues K-Cups have on the environment. They claim that in 2013, the company that produces K-Cups created so many of these pods that it was enough to wrap around the equator 10.5 times. (As a side note, have you ever wondered why people use the equator as a comparison? I get that it's big, but can any of us really imagine how big that really is?) The killthekcup movement also claims that these pods are made of no.7 plastic, which they claim is hard to recycle.

A deeper look into no.7 plastic finds that it's a general plastic, meaning it can contain various types of plastics. The toxicity of this plastic seems to be higher than the others, containing bisphenol A (BPA), which can be a hormone or endocrine disruptor. If this plastic is used at a constant rate (which K-cups are made for an every day use), BPA could potentially be dangerous and harmful to the body, including higher risk of breast cancer and type 2 diabetes as an example.

However, the movement killthekcup is working on a new biodegradable pod to change the affect this plastic has on the environment and the body. There are reusable K-cups available, but it seems as if people prefer a one-and-done-deal from their coffee. The Natural Resources Defense Council claims that the production of making the pods have a much greater impact than the actual recycling of these pods.

An article by the New York Times claim that although these new K-cups will be recyclable, it doesn't mean that it's necessary better for the environment. The amount of time and resources to transport and create these pods release just as much harmful gases, if not more because of the popularity. Also, people would need to put their finished pods in a separate recycling bin, something most people are not used to quite yet.

Resources:

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/17/business/energy-environment/keurigs-new-k-cup-coffee-is-recyclable-but-hardly-green.html

http://money.cnn.com/2015/03/04/news/k-cups-keurig-inventor-regrets/

https://www.killthekcup.org/petition

https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/03/the-abominable-k-cup-coffee-pod-environment-problem/386501/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uRGiGbX9lIo

http://www.cnbc.com/2015/03/02/a-deeper-look-at-the-killthekcup-movement.html#.

https://news.vice.com/article/consumers-are-dumping-keurigs-single-serve-coffee-and-thats-great-news-for-the-environment

https://www.lifewithoutplastic.com/store/common_plastics_no_1_to_no_7#.WMzLmhLyui4


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