The Keurig coffee machines made making a cup of coffee much more convenient, especially in an office environment where people may have different tastes so brewing a large pot of coffee did not always work that well. That convenience came at a pretty steep price to the environment. Each of those cups of coffee meant throwing away a single-use plastic “K-cup” – the small cartridge/pod containing the coffee that is dropped in the top of the machine.
All is not lost however. There are options for your Keurig that retain most, if not all, the convenience without all that single-use plastic waste.
The most obvious thing to do is to replace those plastic pods with something that can be reused. Luckily, there are plenty of options for that on the market, such as the one shown to the right from Keurig themselves.
These unscrew, or unclip, at the top, and can be filled with ground coffee. Once filled, simply drop it in the brewer the same way you would with any K-cup, and in no time you will have a cup of fresh coffee.
As with the regular K-cups, you can choose different coffees for each cup, based on your taste or mood at the time. After brewing, just take the pod out, dump the used grinds in the compost and rinse it out ready for next time and breathe easy knowing you avoided sending more plastic to the landfill.
Filling, emptying and cleaning reusable K-cups is not for everyone, we get it. Especially in an office environment, where there’s always that one person who forgets to clean it out after making their coffee. Instead of giving up and reverting to the plastic, think about getting a compostable K-cup instead.
There are almost as many options for these as there are for original K-Cups, and while the larger coffee places like Starbucks, Dunkin’ and Peets do not have their coffee in compostable pods yet, many of the available options are just as good (and if you really must have your Starbucks, just pick up a reusable k-cup for that – the beauty of Keurig means you can mix and match).
Fair Trade, Organic
Once you’ve cleaned up the brewing process, think about also picking a coffee that is fair trade certified and organic. That will help keep your coffee, and the environment, free of harmful chemicals and, at the same time, make sure the people growing the beans are fairly compensated for their produce. Many of the coffees in the compostable k-cups were also fair trade certified and organic; when you’re buying ground coffee (or beans to grind yourself), try to look for one of the Fair Trade logos on the packaging. While Starbucks may not have compostable k-cups, they do sell some fair trade labeled coffee, they also claim that 99% of their coffees are ethically sourced and responsibly grown, so buying their ground coffee for your reusable k-cup would be a good option.