It may be time to rethink the environmental impact of the coffee pod.
While the single-use pods popularized by Keurig Dr Pepper have been the target of many people who see them as unnecessarily wasteful, new studies are saying that's not quite true when you look at the big picture. In fact, a coffee pod may be better for the environment overall vs. standard coffee makers — and that's without taking into consideration if the coffee drinker recycles their polypropylene pods or uses a reusable pod.
A University of Quebec study — one of a few recent ones — examined the carbon footprint, noting that "the pollution resulting from the preparation of coffee at home is just the tip of the iceberg."
"To adequately compare the carbon footprint of several coffee preparation methods, it is important to consider their entire life cycle," from growing coffee to shipping and roasting it, the study notes.
Because pods are developed to use just the right amount of coffee and water, there's less waste and less energy needed during brewing.
"The impact of packaging, in general, is much, much smaller than the product itself," Shelie Miller, a professor of sustainable systems at the University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability, told the Washington Post.