Ethical Coffee Pods Can Reduce Waste

Those coffee pods are damn handy. They make a decent cup of joe in the time it would normally take to make an instant coffee. But the popular plastic pods are, en masse, becoming a bit of a problem for the environment. So in the interest of ethical coffee, is it worth buying reusable pods?

[Coffee Pods] via Shutterstock

A year ago, Choice estimated that up to 28 million kgs of aluminium waste could be sitting in landfills around the world because of the pods, a large part of the problem being they can’t be thrown into normal recycling bins.

A biodegradable solution has already been developed, but it has fallen short of its May 2013 goal to expand into Australia, so you’ll have to find what you can on eBay or order from overseas. But reusable pods are also an option.

Over at the Coffee Connection, they’re selling reusable pods that promise to not only be more economical, but also environmentally friendly. Just enter your own espresso blend, making sure it’s the right density, and you’re good to go.

We spotted this review of reusable pods which suggests it's not all as easy and great as it seems, with one stand-out point being the pods might not last nearly as long as advertised — though it is from two years ago, so it’s possible pods have improved since then. It’s certainly worth giving a try, if not for the ethical stance, then for the economical. Choice does have one warning for you, though: Make sure your pod is compatible with your machine, because broken machines due to incompatible pods aren't covered by your warranty.


    Or else you could simply buy a cheap device like an Outpresso (if you couldn't be arsed cutting the pods up yourself), and separate out the coffee grounds thereby making the pods recyclable...

    Or we could stop being lazy and make it properly with less waste.

    Biodegradable is not sustainable or ethical - there's still manufacturing, shipping, and disposal. I guess the reusable ones are OK, but at that point just use a regular espresso machine???

    I think these machine are a blight. In this day and age when we know full well what impact humans have on the environment, I think it's pretty irresponsible to use these "single use, throw away" containers simply for a bloody coffee.

    Last edited 22/04/14 8:41 am

    So you are against takeaway coffees that sell with the plastic lids? As someone mentioned above, even the manufacture process for the billions of biodegradable cups is huge, and I'm picking more of those get used then these pods.

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