Single-cup Coffee, Tons of Garbage


“It’s growing like crazy,” said Joe DeRupo, spokesman for the National Coffee Association. “It seems like virtually everyone is jumping on the single-serve bandwagon.”

For the unfamiliar, single-cup coffee comes in individual portions, encased in plastic capsules or packets that you put in a special coffeemaker to brew one cup at a time. It’s the polar opposite of the pour-over artisanal coffee that’s so popular in much of the East Bay, but tens of millions of consumers have already switched to single-cup brewing nationwide, likely because it’s ultra-convenient. DeRupo’s group recently published a report that found that 12 percent of US households now have a single-cup brewer.

In the East Bay Express, Vanessa Rancaño looks at the growing popularity of single-cup coffee machines that use individual capsules and the “hundreds of millions of pounds of unrecyclable trash” the machines have started to produce. What we pay for convenience often comes at the price of sustainability.

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