In a landmark deal reached today between Green Mountain Coffee Roasters and Starbucks, Starbucks coffee will soon be available in K-cups at a retailer near you. For those not familiar with Green Mountain Coffee’s Keurig Single-Cup brewing system, it’s a special coffee maker that brews single serving coffee and is very popular with consumers, especially offices. Tea lovers will even be able to pick up Tazo tea K-cups. These items are to be sold at retail outlets and at your local Starbucks.
So, what’s the big deal about K-cups? And do they warrant the hype? Well, yes and no. K-cups are designed to produce a perfect cup of coffee at the touch of a button, and that’s a truly marvelous thing to have. But there’s a hidden cost with them too. You see, the K-cup itself is made of non-recyclable plastic and almost all of the over 1.6 million K-cups sold last year ended up in a landfill. Of course, there is debate as to whether anything can biodegrade in a landfill anyway, but technically speaking your average coffee filter and coffee grinds easily decompose.
So what’s a concerned coffee lover to do? Well, if you’re really concerned, it’s probably best to avoid K-cup coffee all together. At least for now, according to their website Keurig is actively researching ways to make their K-cups recyclable.