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Keurig Vent

I'm so sickened by the popularity of these machines.  I get that they're convenient and they brew a good cup of coffee, but the k-cups are wasteful and aren't even recyclable. 

I've spent a few hours this afternoon reading about ways to reduce use of or recycle k-cups, and I'm not coming up with much.  Most "fixes" would be okay if they were for home use, but I'm trying to find a way to cut down on use at work.  My company has multiple Keurig machines for ~1200 employees, and I know that many of these employees drink multiple cups of coffee a day.  That's a LOT of k-cup waste.

As one of the most vocal and active members of my company's "green team" I feel like I have to do something, but I'm not sure what.  I know that taking them away and going back to pots of coffee will cause all sorts of backlash and bittching, but there aren't really many feasible ways to reduce the use on such a large scale.

Anyone else feel my pain?  Have any ideas to help me out?

Vacation

Vacation

Re: Keurig Vent

  • That sounds frustrating.  I've heard those k-cups aren't recyclable, which is one reason I've never tried that kind of machine.  What is it about the coffee that makes it so much more wonderful than regular pot coffee?  Is it different flavors, less cleanup, or just the avoidance of that last burnt tasting cup in the pot?  I guess my first step would be to figure out why people like them so much.

    Does your company still have the regular pots out, or did the pots go into storage?  If you want to transition back to pots, one thing that might make it easier for people is to make sure you pick the most popular flavors of coffee grounds to buy.  How does cost factor in?  I'd guess grounds are cheaper, so maybe there would be a way to limit k-cup consumption based on that.

    Another option to reduce coffee waste, if you don't already do this, is to have larger cartons of half-and-half in the fridge instead of those individual serving containers of creamer.  And maybe offer sugar cubes instead of sugar packets.

  • sorry, I'm no help - I LOVE mine! Half the time I grind my own beans and use the reusable cup, does that give me extra points? ;-) 

    For a business, I can't imagine how much all those k cups would cost. We had a hard enough time getting the building to switch over to fair trade coffee & tea. 

  • image CutesBoots:

    That sounds frustrating.  I've heard those k-cups aren't recyclable, which is one reason I've never tried that kind of machine.  What is it about the coffee that makes it so much more wonderful than regular pot coffee?  Is it different flavors, less cleanup, or just the avoidance of that last burnt tasting cup in the pot?  I guess my first step would be to figure out why people like them so much.

    Does your company still have the regular pots out, or did the pots go into storage?  If you want to transition back to pots, one thing that might make it easier for people is to make sure you pick the most popular flavors of coffee grounds to buy.  How does cost factor in?  I'd guess grounds are cheaper, so maybe there would be a way to limit k-cup consumption based on that.

    Another option to reduce coffee waste, if you don't already do this, is to have larger cartons of half-and-half in the fridge instead of those individual serving containers of creamer.  And maybe offer sugar cubes instead of sugar packets.

    Honestly, I don't know what makes it such a great cup of coffee.  I'm not a coffee drinker, but that's all I hear from other people.  "It's not only about convenience.  It's just sooooo much better than a pot of coffee."  ::shrug::

    As for the coffee pots - they're all gone.  We recently switched from one cafeteria/break room supply vendor to another.  With the new vendor came the Keurig, and all the pots went back to the other vendor.

    As far as the cost, I'm sure the K-cups are pretty costly, but I don't know how much.  I am definitely trying to pull that together to fight that angle, but I hate always having to use the cost justification when I'm really pushing for environmental awareness.  But when people are so focused on convenience and resilient to change, that seems to be the only way sometimes.  *sigh*

    I've already started working on getting larger containers for creamer as well.  We use the Land-o-Lakes Mini-Moos, and I just read that those are mixed plastic, so they're not recyclable in most areas either.  Gah.

    Vacation

    Vacation
  • Sorry... the coffee is that  much better. I generally make my coffee at home in a fancy no-pod espresso machine that grinds the beans and makes it for me, but if I want a cup at work for some reason, I pay the extra quarter for a k-cup because it's drinkable. The drip stuff, frankly, is not.

    The only way you'd win me over is to go all the way to a high end espresso machine. Otherwise, you're replacing something I like with something I hate, and yes, that will piss me off.

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  • Urgh....I know. It's my biggest green sin. The coffee IS that much better.

     It definitely irritates me that the cups can't be recyled. Before I knew that they weren't recyclable, I was scooping out the coffee grinds and composting them and "recycling" the k-cup (of course now I know they ended up in the landifll). I only produce one k-cup per day, so I'm not sure what the waste ratio is on that vs. the pot of coffee I used to make in the morning. But for a company that large....yeah I think it would bother me a lot too.

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  • Ugh. My work switched over to something similar (they were individual packets, not k-cups) but luckily they kept the old pots out too.

    I've only had the Keurig coffee a couple of times at the place where I do my research project. I thought it was gross, but maybe it was the specific type of coffee. It was really weak and I'm a fan of strong, dark coffee.

    Is there any reason that Keurig couldn't make the cups recyclable? Maybe if it's requested enough? It'd still be super wasteful, but at least it'd be better than it is currently.

  • How about switching to high end espresso machines? The ones that make lattes, mochas and everything.

    I would probably do a cost comparison of Keurig vs. espresso machine. Just track the usage of k cups for a month.

  • I use the reusable cup and grind my own beans. Best way to go.
  • My company uses Keurig, but we collect the used cups and the vendor  takes them back.  I have no idea why we would go through the trouble of keeping them separate and bagging them up if they aren't being recycled/reused in some way, unless it's the keep up the illusion that we are a "green" company, which isn't too far-fetched, actually.

    I keep trying to catch the coffee guy but I haven't succeeded...I'll ask some of the admins and see if they know why we save the cups.

  • I lost my Keurig in my divorce and I want to get another one.  I LOVE it!  I use the MyCup thing since I buy Kona from my Godparents and you just can't get Kona K-Cups THAT GOOD.  And because it's more eco-friendly. 

    But when I do use the K-Cups (like for Chai Tea) I always saved my cups and used them as planters in the spring for my summer garden.  The residual coffee in the cups help my sprouts grow, event!   So maybe propose saving the cups and using them as planters for some flowers that you can plant around your building?

  • image belovedbride07:

    My company uses Keurig, but we collect the used cups and the vendor  takes them back.  I have no idea why we would go through the trouble of keeping them separate and bagging them up if they aren't being recycled/reused in some way, unless it's the keep up the illusion that we are a "green" company, which isn't too far-fetched, actually.

    I keep trying to catch the coffee guy but I haven't succeeded...I'll ask some of the admins and see if they know why we save the cups.

    Interesting... Do you know if your company gets the k-cups through Green Mountain?  I think there are some other companies that provide them as well.  I know that Green Mountain is a pretty green company, so it baffles me a little that they don't/can't recycle their cups.

    I'd be interested in finding more out about this one if you can track down some info for me. :-)

    I'll also look into pricing out the high-end espresso machines, or at least seeing if Aramark has those as part of the services they would offer.

    Thanks everyone for your suggestions!

    Vacation

    Vacation
  • Wikipedia gives this about environmental friendly tip:

    "In addition to prepackaged filters, Keurig also produces a reusable filter called the My-K Cup, which allows conventional ground coffee to be used. The My K-Cup is an environmentally friendly alternative to disposable K-Cups, but compatible only with home brewer models; it also allows the use of coffees not available in K-cup form, which can drastically reduce both the expense and waste of K-cups. In addition, some companies have created lids allowing users to reuse spent K-cups."

  • I work at a relatively green company and we switched away from the Keurig coffee a long time ago because it wasn't green enough.  Now we use AutoPOD which is similar but instead of using a little plastic cup the coffee is in a little pouch/pod made out of a coffee filter.  The used pods go into the back of the machine and are given out to employees for their compost bins.  We also have a machine that dispenses creamer, sugar, and sweetener so there isn't much waste there either. 
  • image Neshama:

    Wikipedia gives this about environmental friendly tip:

    "In addition to prepackaged filters, Keurig also produces a reusable filter called the My-K Cup, which allows conventional ground coffee to be used. The My K-Cup is an environmentally friendly alternative to disposable K-Cups, but compatible only with home brewer models; it also allows the use of coffees not available in K-cup form, which can drastically reduce both the expense and waste of K-cups. In addition, some companies have created lids allowing users to reuse spent K-cups."

    Yeah, I looked into those, but that assumes that people are going to be conscious enough to reuse each time, and go to the trouble to fill the cups themselves.  People around here are lazy and not necessarily green focused.

     

    Fox - I'm going to look at AutoPOD now.  Thanks for the rec!

    Vacation

    Vacation
  • We don't drink coffee, but have a Senseo around for guests.  It also has the filter pods that I compost.
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  • Well I guess I'm in the minority here.  I agree with OP, I don't get the keurig thing.  I used one for the first time a couple months ago at a hotel and was underwhelmed - the coffee was not as good as what I make at home with my Cuisinart machine.  I really think it just depends on the coffee used.  I can't imagine it being cost-effective or environmentally friendly for an office/company to use.  If you need fresher coffee, just make smaller pots - my husband and I brew ourselves 2 cups every morning in our normal sized 12 cup machine, there's no waste and our machine has a built in filter so no waste there either.
  • I'm just baffled that employees would b!tch about being given free coffee of any kind by their employer.  Who does that?  Seriously!

    I've never worked for an employer that actually did anything like it.  The closest I've gotten is free powdered creamer and sugar for the coffee employees bring in themselves.

    One of my less imaginative dreams is going to a fancy employer-sponsored Christmas party.  I came close when DH worked for Comcast, but then he had to work during the party so we couldn't go.  My only work Christmas parties have been pot-lucks during our lunch hour or on Sunday nights.  Boo.

  • I hate Keurig coffee. I think it tastes like crap. I only drink coffee from a press now. Such a snob :) It kills a lot of waste, though. You don't need filters and none of the single use containers that Keurig uses. Not very practical for a company, though.

    Definitely look into getting the bigger cartons of half and half and creamer. Single service is not only a waste but more costly in the end.

     

  • does everyone have a reusable mug/cup? that would help a little. I rationalize b/c I am making my own and using reusable cup vs when I bought out all the time, that it's a little better. I couldn't recycle those store bought cups at work. also I do open every K cup and compost the grinds and I do sometimes use the reusable K cup with other coffees - so no disposable K cup.
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