Last month we wrote about the mounting problem of non-recyclable coffee pods from companies such as Keurig. Estimates are that one in three U.S. households now has a coffee maker that uses pods, and that enough pod trash has been generated to circle the globe more than 10 times.
This week, Keurig announced a new, recyclable, travel mug-sized coffee pod for its Keurig 2.0 system. The new K-Mug pods are made from a different plastic that, unlike the smaller pods, can be recycled – albeit not until it is separated from the lid and filter. The company admitted that its primary focus with the new product was not sustainability though; it was to deliver more brewing options and larger cups to customers. Keurig has reiterated its goal of making all its pods of recyclable plastic by 2020. How much trash will be circling the earth by then?
Group Activities and Discussion Questions:
- Discuss the difference between legal issues and ethical issues. Is what Keurig selling legal, or ethical?
- Poll students: How many have a Keurig or other pod-type of coffee maker? How do they dispose of the waste?
- View Keurig’s Web site: http://www.keurig.com/
- Discuss ethical considerations for non-sustainable packaging.
- Have students discuss options that Keurig (and other coffee pod companies) could implement with regards to social responsibility.