Tag Archives: recycling

Keurig Announces Recyclable Pods

Keurig

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:

  1. Discuss the difference between legal issues and ethical issues. Is what Keurig selling legal, or ethical?
  2. Poll students: How many have a Keurig or other pod-type of coffee maker? How do they dispose of the waste?
  3. View Keurig’s Web site: http://www.keurig.com/
  4. Discuss ethical considerations for non-sustainable packaging.
  5. Have students discuss options that Keurig (and other coffee pod companies) could implement with regards to social responsibility.

Source: Brandchannel.com

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Too Much Trash from Coffee Pods

Trash

Americans love coffee, and love easy-to-use products, too. Combine coffee with easy-to-use packaging and it is estimated that one in three U.S. households currently has a pod-based coffee machine such as Keurig, Tassimo, Nespresso, or other models. That means a lot of coffee pods are bought, and they all need to be discarded. Although companies claim the pods are recyclable, they do not appear to be so. Most pods are manufactured from number 7 plastic, include aluminum in the packaging, and are quite small – meaning the pods are not easily recycled.

With sustainability in products and packaging becoming a more compelling topic in marketing, what should companies do? The K-cup inventor, John Sylvan, originally intended the product for use in offices. He left the company in 1997 and now estimates that the single-cup brewing products product 10 times more solid waste than a cup of coffee made in a more conventional drip machine. Sylvan has gone as far as stating that “I wouldn’t do it now…. The world has changed in 15 years.”

Consumers and advocacy groups are calling for solutions to the problem. Even the pod-manufacturers realize that an environmentally-sound approach is needed, vowing to make the pods recyclable by 2020.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the difference between legal issues and ethical issues.
  2. Poll students: How many have a Keurig or other pod-type of coffee maker? How do they dispose of the waste?
  3. Go to the Web site for “Kill the K-Cup”: http://www.killthekcup.org/
  4. View the mockumentary about pod invasion on the site.
  5. Also, view CBS video about how green the coffee pods are:

http://youtu.be/MapDRRm40S8

  1. Discuss ethical considerations for non-sustainable packaging.

Source: Brandchannel.com, CBS News, East Bay Express, other news sources

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What Happens to Old Smartphones?

phones

Apple has already sold more than 10 million phones in the first week of availability, and BlackBerry has just launched its new phone as well. With all the new phones coming out on the market this fall, one wonders – what happens to all the old phones. Where do old phones go, do they have another life? And, how can we get money for our old phones?

Plenty of people sell their used cellphones, and usually it peaks when new models become available. One buyer of used phones is GameStop, a video game retailer that buys and sells used games and electronic equipment. During a recent trade-in event held following the new iPhone 6 launch, the company bought more than 15,000 devices, including recent iPhone 5 models.

Another company that buys used cellphones is EcoATM; it reported an 80% increase in iPhone trade-ins at its 1,100 kiosks. A third company, Gazelle, allows people to mail in their used smartphones and electronics for cash back or credit on Amazon.com. Gazelle reported that it was making 180 offers per minute in the week preceding the iPhone 6 launch and the iPhone 5 accounted for 38% of the devices being traded.

It’s nice to know that old equipment still has some life left for consumers.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Show Web sites of companies that buy old smartphones: Gazelle at https://www.gazelle.com/trade-in; EcoATM at http://www.ecoatm.com/; GameStop at http://www.gamestop.com/
  2. Discuss the business model for buying and selling older models of smartphones.
  3. Who is the target market? What is the process for consumers?
  4. Divide students into teams. Have teams create a brief business plan for buying and selling old phones. Emphasize the 4Ps in the plan.
  5. Discuss the benefits of such programs, as well as the environmental impact of outdated electronics.

Source: New York Times

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