While doing research for another project I’m working on, I came across a post called “Love Keurig? Nope.” that I think is important to share and hope that you will help spread. It’s all about the short comings of Keurig’s K-Cup, a single-cup coffee brewing system that uses a plastic-based, single-use, non recyclable container for each cup. The post coversthe fallacies that it’s a less expensive cup of coffee or that it tastes better and the environmental crime that is the entire single-serving industry.

Before I go any further, I’ll say that I assume most of you reading this blog don’t use a K-Cup. In my mind’s eye, I imagine that if you saw the system in a store or read a description of it, you’d immediately gasp in horror at the excess waste and then turn the other way, hoping never to have to consider it again. Good for you. As the post that inspired me to write this points out,

In 2009, 1.6 billion non-recyclable plastic K-cups were sold (it was estimated that 3 billion would be sold in 2010). That’s enough plastic to circle the earth 1.25 times. Plastic that will take millions of years to degrade—if ever— and will continue to pile up in landfills and the ocean, increasing the size of the Great Pacific Garbage Patchand killing wildlife.

If you need any further evidence that the scourge of single-serving coffee is a growing problem, consider this: In March, Starbucks and Green Mountain Coffee teamed up to sell single serve coffee and brewers. When a coffee company that pulls in more than $2 billion per quarter enters a new business, you know it’s going to have an impact everywhere.

Finally, take a look at the paltry lip service Keurig pays to its social responsibility:

K-Cup® Portion Pack Packaging is an area of major environmental concern for all consumer product companies. As the single cup coffee market and our Keurig brewing systems grow in popularity, we understand that the impact of the K-Cup® Portion Pack waste stream is one of our most significant environmental challenges. …Finding a more environmentally-friendly approach to this packaging challenge is a big priority for us. We are working on a few different fronts to improve the environmental characteristics of the K-Cup® system, as well as to mitigate its impact.

It’s nice of a company to say something about trying to reduce its products environmental impacts. In fact, I often encourage companies that are not great, but are trying. But this company’s entire raison d’etre is focused on a product that is environmentally untenable. Not only that, it makes a low quality, more expensive product.

So do me a favor. Along with continuing to drink your morning coffee from a re-usable cup, read “Love Keurig? Nope.” to understand the environmental impacts (not to mention the financial and taste impacts) of using single-serving coffee cups and then spread the word. Whether you’re on Twitter, Facebook, have your own blog or are just talking to friends and family, talk about how we can #killthekcup because there are plenty of ways to enjoy just one cup of coffee at a time that cost about the same, taste better and don’t harm the planet.

Image courtesy Flickr user Randy Read. Used under Creative Commons license.