Daphne Bramham: Another thing we don’t need? Plastic, single-use coffee pods

In 1998, Keurig launched what seemed like a niche-market device that brewed a single cup of coffee using a K-Cup, which has come to be known as a pod.

The machine punctures the aluminum lid of a plastic container filled with grounds, streams hot water through it, and out comes coffee.

For a while, nobody paid much attention. Six years ago, only 15 per cent of Canadians owned a machine that used the pods, and that was double the percentage of Americans who thought it was a good investment or a good idea.

By 2017, 38 per cent of Canadians owned a single-cup system, along with a third of Americans. From a marketing point of view, it’s an amazing story.

Coffee companies have been forced to rethink and retool. Some, like Nespresso, have their own machines as well as their own pods. Retailers have replaced jars of instant coffee on shelves with boxes of pods, and even big coffee sellers like Tim Hortons and Starbucks have branded their own.

Frankly, it’s never made sense to me. The convenience doesn’t trump either the increased cost or the mountain of garbage that these things create. And despite handsome George Clooney’s ads, making a single-cup of coffee at home by myself has never really screamed luxury to me. But, apparently lots of people like them.

In Canada last year, Toronto-based Club Coffee estimated that 2.8 million pods are discarded every day. In 2013, when fewer than 20 per cent of Americans were using pods, it was estimated that if you lined up only K-Cups alone (not including pods manufactured by other suppliers), they would wrap the equator 10.5 times.

That’s a whole lot of trash at a time when most municipalities are already drowning in garbage and scientists are only starting to discover the harms of microplastics and microfibres in …read more

Source:: Vancouver Sun

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