Single-serve coffee pods, made by companies like Nespresso and Keurig, are one of the most notable innovations in the coffee industry in the past decade. They also happen to be so terrible for the environment that a city has now completely banned them. Quartz writes that the German city of Hamburg is not allowing coffee pods to be purchased at all with government money.
This is because the pods, which account for one out of eight coffees sold in Germany, are not easily recyclable. A report from the city, according to the BBC, notes: “These portion packs cause unnecessary resource consumption and waste generation, and often contain polluting aluminium.” Jens Kerstan, the city’s senator for the environment adds, “With a purchasing power of several hundred millions of euros per annum, the city can help ensure that environmentally harmful products are purchased less frequently.”
— TakePart (@TakePart) February 19, 2016
The Germans aren’t the only ones that feel single-serving coffee pods are bad for the environment. The inventor of the K-Cup has publicly admitted that he regrets ever creating the pods in the first place. While a number of pod producers, including Keurig, are working towards making sustainable and recyclable pods, currently experts estimate that Keurig sells enough pods every year to circle the Earth 12 times. That’s a lot of pollution.
Even though many people are now aware of the environmental impact of K-Cups, and sales are down, it still isn’t stopping companies from launching more and more pod-based products. Most recently, San Diego-based company LonoLife launched a line of pod-based bone broths, combining two of the most annoying trends into one product. This comes shortly after Campbell released a line of K-Cup soups.