No More Plastic K-Cups

I believe in the importance of small steps when it comes to living a more eco-friendly life. Sometimes, making changes too drastically or depriving yourself too much leads to overindulgence later. Consistent progress in the right direction is my method.

Coffee

Each month, try to remove something unsustainable from your grocery list. You can either do without the product or replace it with something more eco-friendly. The best way to tell companies what you’d like is to vote with your wallet! Support companies that you agree with and pass on products that don’t align with your sustainable efforts.

This month, try removing plastic K-Cups from your grocery list.

Why? According to an eye-opening article by Elif Koc, about 9 billion K-Cups ended up in landfills last year. Nine BILLION. I can’t even wrap my head around that number. The Atlantic estimates that this many K-Cups could circle the entire planet 10 times. That’s an incredible amount of plastic waste.

In addition to being environmentally harmful, K-Cups are also really expensive. In her article, Koc estimates that the amount of coffee you actually receive in a tiny K-Cup would retail at $40 a pound.

I do love my single-cup coffee maker, and I understand why people love K-Cups. I think a good compromise is to use a reusable K-Cup with your favorite ground coffee inside. It’s convenient, there’s much less plastic waste, and it’s affordable.

kcups
Reusable single-serve cups, such as mine pictured above, are available at most retailers in the coffee aisle.

I have reached out to Keurig on Instagram about K-Cups, asking them if there is a sustainable alternative coming in the near future. Much to my surprise and appreciation, they responded that they were working on a more eco-friendly cup. Hopefully that will be available in stores soon!

The Importance of Sustainable Coffee

I enjoyed an amazing cup of coffee over the weekend. It was a ginger and turmeric latte with a delicious layer of foam and an artful leaf. I don’t usually get “fancy” with my coffee and I splurged on this one. It was worth it.

coffee-whitfield

It got me thinking, though, about the importance of sustainable coffee. I love coffee and because the rest of the world does too, I wondered what the environmental impact of the coffee industry could be. So, I began to do some reading.

The world’s love of coffee is promoting inappropriate and unethical farming trends. Although coffee was once primarily grown in the shade, most now is being grown in full sun, meaning that many acres of forest must be cleared to grow it. Although the full-sun method allows for more plants to be grown close together, and aids in photosynthesis, it causes numerous environmental issues. Growing coffee in cleared patches requires farmers to use more pesticides because the natural bug-eating bats and birds have no trees in which to live. Additionally, cleared land encourages climate change, erosion, and wastewater runoff.

coffee

As a coffee lover, I want coffee to exist for a long time. It only will exist sustainably if consumers support full-shade growing operations. Take a stand with your wallet and look for the Rainforest Alliance seal on the coffee you buy. I know I will be looking at the coffee aisle differently from now on!

An Ocean of Plastic

I love the ocean and I look forward to seeing it every year during my family vacation. I look forward to seeing clear water and dolphins poking their fins out of the waves. But sadly, the ocean is in trouble. 

Did you know that by the year 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean, pound for pound? If you’re like me and love the ocean, we have to stop single-use plastics and decrease plastic consumption across the globe. 

Make the switch from disposable to reusable in 2017. Switch to glass and stop using plastic water bottles, plastic straws, ziplock baggies, and single-serve portioned products. The health of the planet depends on it! 

Photo taken in Bethany Beach, Delaware.