Coffee pods have exploded in popularity over the last 10 years. We've become addicted to the convenience of coffee at the push of a button. This is fast becoming an environmental disaster, with billions of the aluminium and plastic capsules ending up in landfill.
In the US alone, enough coffee pods are produced every year to circle the Equator 10.5 times.
Coffee pods take up to 500 years to break down. Theoretically they can be recycled, but that virtually never happens because by the time you shred and re-smelt the aluminium, wash the coffee, and burn the varnish, its not economically viable.
Billions of used coffee pods are clogging up our landfills each year
The loudest opponents to coffee pods are not exactly who you'd expect - like Jean-Paul Gaillard the former Nespresso CEO, and John Sylvan, the inventor of American coffee pods, who is "full of regrets about their environmental impact". At this rate, it's only a matter of time before George Clooney gets on board...
What a disaster! If only some brilliant person could invent an easy way to make great-tasting coffee at home that wasn’t so wasteful.
Oh. Hang on a minute…
If you've already got a coffee pod machine, no need to throw it out! Try reusable steel pods. For the same price as a variety pack of disposable Nespresso® capsules, you can get stainless steel capsules that never wear out. This will save you alot of money and let you try different espresso blends.
Many serious coffee drinkers swear by the stovetop percolator, especially if you like a strong brew. There is something nostalgic in brewing coffee the way our grandparents used to do it.
A French press is a stylish addition to any kitchen. It’s one of the simplest ways to prepare coffee- the only barrista skills you need are boiling water and pushing down a plunger.
The Aeropress is a newbie on the coffee scene, but has already become a beloved brewer for serious coffee connoisseurs. It’s based on the same idea as the French press, but with more optimal conditions, and can even be taken travelling.
And for the hard-core coffee connoisseurs, why not invest in the real deal - an espresso machine? Not the style that uses coffee pods, but the ones that require you to show off your barista skills. Learn more about good coffee and sign up to a course. You’ll never go back.
When buying your coffee beans, use recyclable packaging such as paper or tin. Keep your coffee fresher for longer by storing in a mason jar.
Used coffee grounds are surprisingly useful - so put them to work! Use them for anything from from facials scrubs to snail repellent. Otherwise, just dispose of them in your compost or food waste caddy.
By now the tea drinkers must be feeling pretty smug - their tea habit only produces paper bags and compostable leaves - no waste issues to worry about.
But here’s the thing - tea bags contain plastic too. Most tea bags are only 70-80% compostable, the rest is made of heat-resistant polypropylene. That’s not a big deal for one little teabag, but it is when you consider that we use 165 million tea bags each day in Britain.
Plastic is even in your teabag: who knew?
When you think that people often drink tea for the health and antioxidant benefits, dipping plastic in your hot water doesn't make much sense.
The best option is to make the switch from teabags to loose leaf. It may take a little longer to prepare, but isn't the whole point to unwind?