Earlier this year, I decluttered my coffee machine. It was a cute little machine, I wanted to go more minimal and stick with using my french press. A french press doesn’t require filters, so not having to buy filters was a bonus, but I will admit to not loving the process of cleaning the french press. It is easier to ignore having to clean a drip coffee machine – a french press has to be cleaned each and every time you make coffee in it. But I digress, I had gotten rid of the coffee machine and was happily making do with making my morning java in the coffee press.
In the past month, I’ve been introduced to the single-serve coffee machines and all the benefits they tout. A friend recently purchased a Keurig machine from a large retailer in town, and upon visiting their house for a couple of dinner parties, I had the opportunity to try out the coffee. I’ll admit, the coffee is pretty good. But the packaging, oh, the packaging. The grounds for each coffee is contained in a single-serving plastic container with a foil lid. And the plastic is non-recyclable. Now, I did not give my friend a hard time for choosing such a non-sustainable coffee maker, but I personally would not choose to purchase a coffee maker like this, no matter how tasty the coffee.
Last week, I visited a friend’s house for a playdate with the kids and she mentioned her husband had purchased a brand new coffee machine, a Nespresso Pixie. Is this thing ever cute. And the coffee that comes out of it… divine! My friend gave me the sales pitch on it and served me a delicious cappuccino while she described its capabilities. I questioned whether the capsules that hold the coffee grinds and make the coffee making so easy and mess free were recyclable. She said, yes, the pods are recyclable as they are made of aluminum (like a pop can) – so you can elect to either clean the pods yourself and pop them into your recycling container, or you can return them to your local Nespresso dealer for recycling. Huh. As good as it all sounded, there is quite a lot of plastic packaging that comes along with all the tiny little Nespresso pods. Also, although the greenwashing of the Nespresso brand is quite thorough, it appears that only about 25% of used Nespresso pods are recycled globally. Even worse, Nespresso’s Pro Capsules are made of aluminum bonded with plastic and are, as such, non-recyclable.
One of my main pursuits in adopting a minimalist lifestyle is to create less waste. And, as sexy as these coffee machines are, I won’t be buying one.
And as delicious as the coffee is that comes out of those things, I won’t be spending my husband’s hard-earned money on one. The financial cost of single-serving coffee is enough of a deterrent (the machines themselves are quite expensive), but the environmental cost of single-serving coffee is abhorrent and I’ll be avoiding it at all costs. Grinding coffee beans in my own grinder once weekly is not an unpleasant enough task to warrant purchasing a coffee machine that will do it all at the touch of a button. The most environmentally sound cup of coffee is one that is made from good ol’ traditionally ground coffee beans, prepared in a pot, and consumed out of a reusable cup. Still delicious, and guilt-free.