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Keurig Answers Eco-Pleas with New Compostable Pods

The Keurig coffee maker company has come under intense criticism from environmentalists over its pods. Single-use plastic coffee pods have become a major pollutant. Now, the company that invented coffee pods has updated them…

K-Rounds Coffee Maker - © 2024 - Keurig

It’s estimated that single-use disposable K-Cup pods have generated at least 570,000 metric tons of waste worldwide. A Food & Wine story relates: “Not all of that trash is from Keurig alone; however, as one analysis showed, the number of K-Cups produced in 2013 [alone], lined up end-to-end, would be enough to circle the globe more than 10 times, each one taking up to 500 years to decompose.”

Turning over a new leaf

Keurig has not ignored the pleas of the eco-advocates. In fact, it’s been working for some time on developing a new, compostable coffee pod. And the fruits of its efforts were unveiled a couple of weeks ago.

They call the new, plastic-free pods ‘K-Rounds’. A company statement described them as composed of, “expertly roasted coffee beans that are ground, pressed, and wrapped in a proprietary, protective plant-based coating preserving the coffee’s flavor and aroma, eliminating the need for plastic or aluminum.”

They’re billed as direct replacements for the old K-Cups, in all Keurig applications, including hot, cold or iced coffee, and espresso-based beverages.

And the new pods will be 100 percent compostable. So you can dispose of them just like you would regular coffee grounds.

But there’s a catch…

And it’s a big one. You’re going to have to buy a whole new Keurig machine to ‘do the right thing’ and switch to the eco-friendly K-Rounds. The new system is called Keurig Alta. And it’s apparently going to be some time before it comes on the market. Keurig says the rig is still in development, and won’t even go into beta testing until sometime this fall.

One up side to the new system is, you’ll be able to fall back on the original K-Cup pods if the new Rounds are not available. But that would be disrespecting the whole reason for switching in the first place.

My take

Good on you, Keurig! For answering the calls of eco-advocates, and meeting the challenge of evolving your coffee pods into a future-facing, non-polluting form.

Too bad you couldn’t come up with a design that could be used in your original coffee makers. But that’s alright – for you. You’ll probably recoup the cost of developing the new pods through profits from sales of the new machines that can use them.

Anyway… Thanks for at least making the new machines backward-compatible.

~ Maggie J.

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