Watch Those K-Cups You’ve Been Trashing Turn Into a Monstrous Problem

Sure, the single-serve coffee containers are convenient, but as this parody shows, the tiny pods that work in Keurig machines have become a Godzilla-like creature.
Jan 29, 2015·
Culture and education editor Liz Dwyer has written about race, parenting, and social justice for several national publications. She was previously education editor at Good.

Move over, Godzilla. There’s a new monster ravaging the streets, and it’s covered in K-Cups—those single-serving plastic pods used in Keurig coffee machines. Not scary enough for you? Alien spacecraft fly through the air, firing lethal K-Cup “bullets” at people.

At least that’s what’s going down in this invasion parody video from Mike Hachey, head of Egg Studios, a video production outfit based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Hachey is trying to raise awareness of the environmental impact of the tiny containers, which, like plenty of other plastic waste, end up in landfills.

Hachey has firsthand experience with the amount of trash a Keurig machine can generate. Last year he purchased one of the devices for the 22-person Egg Studios staff to use.

“We basically decided, ‘You know what? This is just too wasteful,’ ” he told NPR. That brief experience with K-Cups made Hachey and his crew want to educate other users—and potential purchasers of Keurig machines—about the effect all that plastic can have on our planet.

About 95 percent of K-Cups are made from #7 plastic, which usually isn’t biodegradable and may contain BPA. As for the remaining 5 percent of the pods, it’s tough to recycle them because the plastic container is attached to a foil lid—a big no-no for recycling centers.

A 2013 survey from the National Coffee Association found that nearly one in eight American households owns a single-serving coffee machine, and last year Keurig Green Mountain, the manufacturer of the machines and the pods, produced 9.8 billion K-Cups. There’s no way to tell how many of those ended up in landfills.

So is all hope lost on the K-Cup front? Not necessarily. Other businesses, such as the San Francisco Coffee Company, are producing biodegradable containers. They aren’t official K-Cups, but they can be used with Keurig machines. One of Keurig Green Mountain’s sustainability goals is for 100 percent of K-Cups to be recyclable by 2020. But that’s a full five years away, ample time for billions more pods to litter the earth.

In the meantime, Hachey and his team are firmly on team #KillTheKCup. As the video shows, we should all hope the K-Cup plastic monster doesn’t kill us first.