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How Sustainable Are Coffee Pods (FAQs)

How Sustainable Are Coffee Pods (FAQs)

Coffee pods are great, but we need to ask ourselves an honest question if we love our environment. Are coffee pods sustainable? 

There are several advantages that coffee pods bring, one of which includes convenience. However, as much as we should love convenience, we should always care if coffee pods are sustainable for the environment.

The sustainability of coffee pods depends on some factors, and it's best if we had that settled. One of these factors is the several types of coffee pods and coffee pods manufacturers globally. There are many types of coffee pods produced by different manufacturers. That means there are different tastes, features, and production processes for each brand of coffee pods. 

So before you know if coffee pods are sustainable or safe for the environment, you need to know the manufacturer. Also, the materials used in producing the coffee pods have a role to play for sustainability. If your favourite coffee pod has materials that won't affect the environment, it's sustainable. However, if it adds to the biodegradable waste, it's unsafe for the environment. 

The environment you live in is essential, and when that environment is unsafe, you're unsafe. One of the downsides of coffee pods used to be that they added to the waste of the environment. However, as innovation is ever-evolving, there are now many solutions to this problem. 

Instead of buying coffee pods that can add to waste, you have the option of buying eco-friendly coffee pods. This article will shed light on the sustainability of coffee pods and their impact on the environment. Here, we will answer all of the frequently asked questions about coffee pod sustainability.

What Are Coffee Pods?

We can not possibly discuss coffee pod sustainability if we do not define coffee pods. Essentially, coffee pods are a perfect blend of coffee that caters to one cup of coffee. If you know what a tea bag is, you already have an idea of coffee pods. Coffee pods are similar to tea bags, but this time, the bag's content is coffee.

Coffee pods come in diverse container options. For some, you have a plastic container, while for some others, you have a paper bag as the container. Sometimes, these containers have biodegradable features, which means they may not affect the environment so much. In some cases, some coffee pods may take up to 500 years to decompose. 

In most cases, this time spent decomposing is because of the container of the coffee pods. For example, a paper bag for your coffee pods will decompose relatively fast. However, when you have a plastic or aluminum coffee pod, decomposition will project towards the 500-year timeframe. So, when you use these types of coffee pods frequently, it will affect your immediate environment. 

However, thanks to innovation around the world, there are now more sustainable materials that manufacturers can use to produce coffee pods. Some of these materials will even decompose within 90 days or less

This reduces the time spent on decomposition by a wide margin. However, it doesn’t have to mean that all coffee pods are sustainable. 

Coffee pod sustainability and their relationship with the environment seem to be the only disadvantage to their use. On the other hand, the gains you get from using coffee pods are endless. Some of these benefits include; 

Convenience

On the top of the list of coffee pods benefits is the convenience it brings to you. Before coffee pods became popular, brewing coffee was a cumbersome process that would sap your time, strength, and focus. 

The production process you will even use to get your coffee is already tedious. After that tedious process, that’s when you can start talking about brewing your coffee. 

If you use coffee pods, all you’re bringing to the table is the hot water to brew the coffee. Once you have your pod, your coffee is as good as ready when you add some hot water in the coffee pod machine. 

More so, brewing coffee isn’t a process that is so easy. Sometimes, even the baristas that have the training make mistakes. But with coffee pods, you wouldn’t need to worry about mistakes in the brew.  

Time

Making coffee by yourself manually will take you a lot of time. For instance, let's assume you have an appointment by 9 am, and you get up late. To revitalize your body, you may want to drink some coffee. But in this case, the time factor says otherwise. If you dare to make ground coffee manually in such a situation, you will be late. 

However, if you have safe-to-use coffee pods, you will brew that coffee with a few minutes left to spare. So, in this situation, coffee pods are the best option for you to take. It will save you the time and stress you need for brewing coffee. 

Consistency

As someone who loves coffee, you must have visited a coffee shop maybe once or twice. The experts that make coffee for you at these coffee shops are baristas. 

Even after receiving professional training, these baristas can make inevitable mistakes when making coffee for you. These mistakes will go on to affect the taste of the coffee.

Because you are paying for their services, you have a right to complain and blame the barista. But, if you’re going to be completely honest with yourself, you know that these mistakes happen. 

However, with coffee pods, you and the barista need not worry about the taste. Coffee pods offer the convenience of a consistent taste. This way, you’re sure of the flavour to expect when you use coffee pods. 

Lasts long

When you buy coffee usually, you have to take it as fast as possible for you to get the freshest flavours. After a while, air and other contaminants will reduce the freshness. 

However, when you buy coffee pods, you don’t have to worry about the taste's freshness. Pods are for single cups of coffee, so each coffee pod will remain untouched and retain its freshness. 

Are Coffee Pods Sustainable? 

If you drink coffee pods every day, there’s a high chance your dustbin contains several used pods. It would help if you also remembered that you’re not the only consumer of coffee pods; you’re only one in millions of coffee pod lovers. 

As a result, that “small” waste you see in your bin becomes substantial when they come from millions of users. So, while you’re focusing on the benefits of coffee pods, it makes sense to ask if coffee pods are sustainable?

If you’re looking at it from this point of view, then, coffee pods are bad for the environment. There are millions of coffee lovers in Canada, and when their waste compiles, it becomes too much for the environment m. 

However, there are methods you can employ to reuse and recycle your coffee pods. Besides, to solve this issue, more manufacturers are creating coffee pods that have eco-friendly properties. 

We have established that coffee pods add to the total landfill waste we have in our environment. But it would help if you also remembered that coffee pods are not the only materials that you will see on landfill waste. 

There are thousands of products that also make it to landfill waste. When you consider the ratio of the coffee pod waste to other products, the influence of coffee pods on the environment is negligible.

Like we mentioned earlier, there are different types of coffee pods. Each of these several types has its respective features and decomposing time. Some coffee pods may decompose within two months, while some take hundreds of years to recycle. Let’s take a look at these different types:

Aluminum coffee pods

Some coffee pods have aluminum as one of their manufacturing materials. These types of coffee pods are good for the environment. Why? Because you can always recycle aluminum even after you use the coffee pods. This material hardly loses its properties. 

However, you have the option of choosing not to recycle the aluminum container of your coffee pods. The decomposition of these aluminum coffee pods may take up to five hundred years

As such, if you consider your environment, you may not want to use a coffee pod made from aluminum. If these coffee pods are your favourite, you may need to find ways to reuse the aluminum in the coffee pods. Because it’s only when you use the coffee pods that they are sustainable for the environment. If you decide to dispose of this material, it will remain for centuries to come. 

Plastic coffee pods

Another common material used globally to manufacture coffee pods is plastic. Some of the most popular coffee pods have plastic pods as their primary container. These plastic containers come in different types, features, and, of course, decomposition rates. Some of these plastics even have biodegradable features. 

Generally, plastics also take a lengthy period to decompose completely, so the coffee pod sustainability is low. Even biodegradable plastics still spend time decomposing. 

At least, the “biodegradable” plastics coffee pods may stay up to three years after you dispose of them. So you see, plastic coffee pods are not quite great for the environment.

However, when you compare plastic coffee pods to their aluminum counterparts, plastic coffee pods have a sustainability edge. However, in some cases, some coffee pod manufacturers decide to mix both plastic and aluminum to make their coffee pods. Sounds exciting? Let’s dive right into that!

Plastic and aluminum coffee pods

The world we live in today has several innovations, and if you don’t align with these innovations, you may lose. Coffee pods are one of the most exciting designs in the coffee world. However, innovations never end; there’s always more to think about! That’s precisely what you will experience in the coffee pods industry.

Plastic and aluminum are the common container materials for coffee pods. Manufacturers use both individual materials to make coffee pods that will taste great. However, thanks to innovation, it’s possible to combine both aluminum and plastic to make coffee pods.

It may surprise you, but some of the standard coffee pods around today have both aluminum and plastic materials. But asides from this innovation, we need to confirm if these coffee pods are sustainable and harmful to the environment. 

Because the manufacturers combine these materials to make coffee pods, it may be a little daunting to recycle or reuse. As a result, most parts of these coffee pods end up as waste to the environment. For these pods to decompose, it can take between 130 years and 510 years. 

Oxo-biodegradable plastic coffee pods.

If you can recall, we mentioned above that there are different types of plastic used for making coffee pods. One of these types of plastic is oxo-biodegradable plastic. To a reasonable extent, these coffee pods are sustainable when compared to aluminum pods. 

As the name implies, the Oxo-biodegradable pods are pods that have oxygen and biodegradable properties. The oxygen reacts with water, moisture, and other elements to help quicken the process of decomposition after you dispose of it. 

Generally, it only takes about two years for these types of plastic to finally decompose. This period still depends heavily on the weather conditions and unique situations. 

Compostable pods

If you’ve been looking for coffee pods that are sustainable to the environment, compostable coffee pods are just right. The truth is, old coffee pods weren't always good for the environment. That’s why coffee pod waste continues to be a menace to the environment. However, with the new compostable coffee pods, you can enjoy a great taste and save the environment. 

Of course, compostable coffee pods work well with the environment because of the manufacturing materials. These materials are mostly coffee wastes or agricultural wastes. These types of materials naturally decompose within a few weeks. So, using it to make coffee pods only means they are sustainable for the environment. 

In most cases, compostable coffee pods will take a little under 50 days to completely decompose. That means when you dispose of the coffee pods in less than two months, the waste clears. This decomposition is quicker than all other types of coffee pods. So, it’s safe to say that compostable coffee pods are sustainable for the environment.  

Related Article: Safety Talk: Are Aluminum Coffee Pods Safe

Are Coffee Pods Eco-Friendly?

For you to be reading this article, there’s a high chance that you’re a coffee lover. Likewise, there’s a high chance that you value the safety of the environment you live in. So, you have to find out how coffee pods affect the environment. That way, you are sure whether you’re doing the right thing for the environment by drinking coffee pods.

If we’re going to be completely honest, there are many adverse effects of coffee pods on the environment. But most of these adverse effects depend on the fact that coffee pods add to the waste in the environment. Similarly, almost any product you have today adds to the total trash in the environment. 

As we said, there are some disadvantages coffee pods bring to the environment. But before we get into that, it will interest you to know that coffee pods also affect the environment positively. 

In fact, when you buy coffee pods, the advantages to the environment far outweigh the disadvantages. 

Saves coffee waste

If you choose not to take coffee pods or related items, there’s a high chance you’ll have to buy ground coffee. In that situation, it means you have to make your coffee manually. The process of making coffee from ground coffee isn’t such an easy task. Before you can attain a little perfection, you have to take your time to practice. 

The major disadvantage of this process is the fact that it’s a messy process. You may be making your coffee, and some coffee may pour on the table, for instance. If you’re a hygienic person, there is no way you’re going to reuse that coffee just like that. You will most likely decide to waste that portion, which makes it a waste to the environment. 

Likewise, coffee requires specific mix ratios to give you the desired taste. If you make any form of mistake, you may not get the flavour you are expecting. In this kind of situation, there’s a high chance that you’ll waste some coffee if the taste does not come correct. In most cases, you can hardly get the perfect taste at the beginning.

Saves water

If you use coffee pods, the amount of water you’ll waste to brew your coffee will reduce drastically. Of course, that happens because you are only making a single-serve coffee to manage water. As a result, you have an almost accurate idea of the amount of water you should heat. 

In a case where you own a coffee pod machine, you’ll save even more water. On the other hand, if you’re making your coffee with ground coffee, you’ll almost always use more water. First, when you want to heat the water you need, you’ll want the water to be enough. In that case, you have to heat more than enough, and eventually, the remaining will waste. 

These are the two primary areas you can say coffee pods are good for the environment. Let’s take a close look at the disadvantages; 

Decomposes over a long period

As a coffee lover, all you want to do with your coffee pod is to make your beautiful coffee immediately. That’s all that you think about when you brew that coffee. 

When you finish drinking the coffee, likely, you care less about the remaining part of the coffee pod. In most cases, you’ll throw that remaining part away. 

For instance, let’s assume you just finished brewing and drinking coffee you made from an aluminum coffee pod. First, it is possible that you do not even know that the pod has anything aluminum. On the off chance that you can identify the aluminum, it’s rare for most users to think of repurposing that aluminum pod.

What is very likely is that you’ll throw the remaining parts into the waste can. In this case, the final destination of the coffee pod is the landfill waste. 

As we have mentioned earlier, that aluminum waste will need about 500 years to decompose. That’s one of the sustainability reasons you have to monitor how you dispose of coffee pods. 

Small recyclable quantities

Without a doubt, you can recycle coffee pods. However, the amount of materials you can recycle from a coffee pod is small. More so, you have to clean that material before you can even think of recycling. However, we can place a bet that you wouldn’t think of cleaning the coffee pod before you recycle the remaining pods. 

If you want to recycle coffee pods, you can send them to the producer. However, you still have to clean these pods properly before the producer can recycle the coffee pod. If it is not clean enough, most manufacturers can’t reclaim the coffee pod. If you have the patience to clean empty pods and send them back, then it will be safe for your immediate environment.

Harmful substances release

We have been using the term decompose all through this article. But we hope you know that decompose means breaking down into different substances. That means the coffee pods break down into smaller substances which may be dangerous to the environment and you!

For instance, when you use a plastic coffee pod, it will take some years to decompose. Plastic has some gases, and when it decomposes, these harmful gases emit into society. During the decomposition of the plastic, these gases will go into the environment.

Recycling costs a lot

The best way to make sure your coffee pods are sustainable for the environment is to recycle the coffee pods. However, the process of recycling is a tedious one that requires so much energy. 

It also requires a lot of money. This is why many coffee users neglect to recycle their coffee. It is this negligence that allows coffee pod waste to have an effect on the environment.

How Can You Dispose of Biodegradable Coffee Pods?

Of course, you love your coffee pods, and you can’t stop taking them for anything. However, you want to make sure that these coffee pods are sustainable for the environment. The first step to take is to make sure that your choice of coffee pods have biodegradable properties. That means they can decompose faster than the regular coffee pods.

After that, another step you can take is to dispose of these coffee pods properly. There are many ways you can dispose of coffee pods that ensure coffee pods sustainability. Some of these ways include:

Landfill disposal

Of course, landfill waste is one of the primary reasons why coffee pods are not sustainable for the environment. However, they remain part of the best ways to dispose of coffee pods properly. All you need to do is to make sure you’re disposing of a pod that won’t take centuries to decompose. 

Recycling

Recycling may be a tedious process, but it’s sure one of the best ways to dispose of coffee pods. In most cases, the best coffee pods to recycle are plastic and aluminum pods. However, you have to take your time to follow the proper recycling procedure

Green waste

A green waste bin is useful in a situation when you use a compostable coffee pod. Compostable coffee pods are already sustainable to the environment. Since they came into Canada in 2016, the government has supported these pods.

You can dispose of these pods very normally by throwing them in your waste. Since they're compostable, they may not have adverse effects. However, if you have access to an industrial compostable waste facility, you can dispose of these facilities.

Reuse

These days some companies manufacture their coffee pods in a way that you can use them again. Not only does this mean the coffee pods are sustainable, it means you'll save a lot of money while at it. 

Related Article: Can I Recycle Coffee Pods?

Coffee Pods are Great for the Environment

When you ask the question, "are coffee pods sustainable?" Most people assume the answer is no. However, it depends on the type of coffee pods that you're using. There are eco-friendly coffee pods that are safe for the environment.

However, if you want to get these types of coffee pods, you need to get them from a trusted store. Here at Invigo Coffee, we can be your source for eco-friendly coffee pods. Look through our collections of coffee pods today!

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