Green Mountain Coffee's 'green' problem
A deal with TerraCyle may help solve it.
The company is in talks with TerraCycle about developing a program that would enable consumers to redeem used K-Cups for 2 cents each to raise money for nonprofits.
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TerraCycle has similar deals with K-Cup rivals that use comparable technologies, such as Tassimo Tea-Discs and Flavia Fresh Packs. The recycling company has figured out how to reuse the material for new products, according to Albie Zakes, a TerraCycle spokesman.
"We would love to strike a deal with them," Zakes says of Green Mountain. A Green Mountain company spokeswoman could not be reached.
A deal with TerraCycle would be a step in the right direction but would not entirely solve the K-Cup problem. The plastic cups are an engineering marvel. They are topped with aluminum foil and lined with a heat-sealed paper filter so that a user gets a perfectly brewed cup of coffee, tea or hot chocolate. Separately, these materials can be recycled, but when combined together in a small format, they are difficult to break down and reuse.
"The speed of the conveyor is going to be very difficult to find a small item like that, to sort that material," Jose Ysea, with San Diego County Waste Management, said in an interview with a California TV station.
Even people who hate Green Mountain's products should root for a recyclable K-Cup. Solid waste is one of the biggest expenses of cash-strapped local governments. The cost for disposing of tens of millions of K-Cups is starting to add up. For now, landfill operators are just grumbling about it to the media, but the message is clear to Green Mountain: Figure out a solution sooner rather than later. Government officials will be only too glad to attribute a need for higher taxes to a problem like K-Cups rather than to their own wasteful spending.
Green Mountain says it's committed to making K-Cups more environmentally friendly. Reusable K-Cups are available, but I found them to be a hassle.
"We have not publicly specified a timeline for a change to the K-Cup pack," Sandy Yusen, a spokeswoman for Green Mountain, wrote in an email. "This is a top priority for us, and we are working aggressively to address the environmental impact of the Keurig brewing system. . . . We continue to experiment with different types of renewable and recyclable materials, looking for possibilities that could meet the heat and pressure requirements of the Keurig system."
All this research isn't cheap. In the 13 weeks ended Dec. 24, 2011, selling and operating expenses at Green Mountain rose more than 80% to $141.4 million. While it's true that net sales more than doubled during that time, revenue growth will eventually slow. And until Green Mountain solves its packaging problem, expenses will not.
BEER is a better option, much greener, toss the bottle into your glass recycle bin for future reuse ! Easy to clean out of the back of your pickup truck and they don't blow out onto the highway like coffee cups/lids.
You can buy an additional insert that replaces the K-cup holder and use your own kind of grinds.....
So for those of you who want to save money but still want to use your Keurig machine, this insert would be your answer.
I bought mine at BedBathandBeyond. Not expansive at all and it works just fine.
For the people that are concerned about recycling the k-cups, or the ones that think they "taste bad".... They sell a filter that you place inside the Keurig Brewer that allows you to use the coffee of your choice, without spending the ridiculous amount for the K-cups. I like my brewer because it IS convenient and also cheap since i use my own coffee!
To play devil's advocate on Laura's comment: if you aren't a big coffee drinker or your house likes different flavors, you're probably pouring out 1/4 - 1/2 of the coffee you're making and wasting your money anyway. I'm sure you waste money on things many of us find equally unnecessary.
Urban Cowboy: You came up with a good idea, use convicts to separate the trash at the landfills. 5-10 years of that will make you think about committing another crime.
One could say that breathing was a fad, for you that scream at fads, please stop breathing.
Everyone has different tastes, single cup brewers will be improved on, they are here to stay.
Just as percolators have pretty much gone the way of the dodo, so will inefficient things such as coffee pots. We live in a disposable culture, they best thing to do is find a better way to use the things that make life convenient.
It is not lazy to want and use conveniences. Stop being preachy, no one will listen anyway.
I like my Keurig, I can stock decaf when certain relatives visit and not have to throw away a pound of coffee I will never drink. Same goes with flavored coffees, teas, or whatever else I am in the mood for.
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Serious issues like drought and the deterioration of the developed world spell opportunity for this industry leader.
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