The environmental impacts of every coffee cup & how to Reduce it

Coffee is the world’s most widely traded agricultural commodity and coffee is produced in more than 50 countries around the world. Americans alone drink about 146 billion cups a year! Coffee production has a huge negative effect on the environment. It starts with its production, transporting it to different locations and eventually disposing of the grounds and pods. But there is a lot you can do, so stick around if you care and want to learn what you can do to reduce the bad influence. 

 According to The Guardian, around 18,900 liters of water are needed to produce 1kg of coffee beans—more than two eight-minute showers’ worth of water. 

The environmental impact of coffee goes further than just water usage. For every cup of coffee consumed, about one square inch of rainforest is destroyed and coffee farms lead to chemical runoffs in rivers, biodiversity loss, and soil erosion.

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What Is Sustainable Coffee?

Sustainable coffee is coffee that is grown and marketed for its sustainability. This includes coffee certified as organic, fair trade, and Rainforest Alliance. 

Coffee production can be made more sustainable by incorporating practices such as better crop-management and water use practices, using pheromone boxes to ward away insects in lieu of pesticides, composting coffee bean waste to use as fertilizer, using coffee hulls as fuel instead of cutting down eucalyptus trees, shade-growing, and reforestation. 

3 of the biggest environmental challenges the coffee industry faces

Single-use bags & pods – roasted coffee are generally delivered in bags or pods that are made from plastic & aluminum. Only about 5% of all coffee pods are made entirely of recycled and recyclable material. Therefore, it is correct to say that coffee pods, although very few of them, are entirely recyclable. The remaining 95% are generally made from non-recyclable composite plastic which takes a long time to biodegrade. 

Deforestation – slash and burn activity clears land for farming cheap Robusta coffee, which is generally blended into other poor quality coffee. Large spaces with no shade trees allow for increased mechanization with a devastating environmental impact. Soil erosion, removal of natural habitats for wildlife, and reduced absorption of carbon dioxide are just some of the negative effects.

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Transportation of coffee – the truth is that just a fraction of coffee grown is consumed in the producing countries. Coffee can only be grown in a narrow band across the globe, between the tropics, so most are sent for export on polluting ships around the world. 


So what can you do with all this info? There’s not a lot you can do about these last two bummers, but there is still a big impact you can do even from your own home.

Can You Recycle Coffee Pods?

Let's start by saying yes, you can recycle some of them, does it happen? unfortunately no. most of them go back to landfills and thrown away in the trash. 

Aluminum-based coffee pods are fully and widely recyclable and are better for the environment than plastic ones. The challenge with recycling coffee pods is that they are designed in a manner that does not, in itself, promote the idea of reusing, recycling, or composting. 


According to ABC news "Coffee giant Nespresso concedes 71% of its pods are not being recycled, despite a global push to make it more convenient to save aluminum and turn coffee grounds into mulch."
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Another problem with recycling coffee pods is that the plastic pods make up almost 100% of all pods out there. Unfortunately because of that, the aluminum used to create each capsule is too small for collection facilities to properly process. The recycling system is usually designed to handle larger items like cans and bottles, and as such, the small amounts of aluminum in the coffee pods will raise a challenge when recycling.

Even if the Pod can be recycled, it still requires so much energy to produce it only for a few seconds of pleasure. energy that can be easily saved with our Eco-Logical Reusable Coffee Pod.

How Long Does It Take for A Coffee Pod to Decompose?

Depending on the material it is made of:

Pods made from aluminum can be recycled. However, if they are not, and they are left to degrade, they take up to 500 years to break down. Nespresso is one of the few companies that make its coffee pods from aluminum. The beauty of the material is that it can be recycled. However, if it is not, it can take very long to decompose.

Pods made from a combination of plastic and aluminum make up a huge percentage of all pods in the world. The combination of these and other elements makes it hard to recycle them, and the majority are left in landfills. It takes anywhere between 150 and 500 years for aluminum and plastic pods to break down in those landfills.
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Reusable Pods and K Cup - the only way to reduce waste for real


Reusable stainless still pods will last forever! This way, you can still keep using your coffee machine while reducing your carbon footprint at the same time. More reusable pods mean fewer disposable pods ending up in the landfill. We’ll drink (coffee) to that!


Apart from having a positive impact on the environment, this swap will have a positive impact on your bank account too. 

The biggest expense isn’t buying the coffee machine, it’s the pods that make this type of brewing not so cost-effective. On average, K Cups will cost you about 4 times more than ground coffee of the same brand.


When using single-use pods, your choice is limited and the coffee in capsules has often lost its freshness since it has been grounded months or even years before it makes its way into your cup.

When using a reusable Pod, you can choose whatever coffee beans you want, allowing you to brew your favorite single-origin or coffee from your local coffee shop. And even if you’re buying higher-quality beans, the final cost is still cheaper than buying single-use pods. We think that makes the whole thing a no-brainer.

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Changing just one small aspect of your lifestyle can have a huge impact, especially where there are a million of us!
To start reducing waste now visit our #1 Eco-Logical Product - the Reusable Coffee Collection

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