As it turns out, coffee pods (which produce pretty delicious coffee) aren’t that bad for the environment after all…


Everyone, from your mother to your best friend to the man who lives next door, loves a good cup of coffee. Australians in particular, have an insane ‘coffee culture’ that’s almost cult-like.

But your daily treat of hot caffeinated bean juice is detrimental to the environment. The growing of coffee beans takes a lot of energy and has led to high deforestation rates; not to mention the large number of disposable coffee cups that end up in landfill every year.

The most sustainable and environmentally friendly way to drink a good old cup of joe is by making instant coffee at home. But as any true coffee-lover knows, instant coffee sucks. It tastes nowhere near as good as ‘real’ coffee.

But if you’re wanting to help the planet by being a tad more eco-friendly, never fear, as you don’t necessarily have to cut out good quality coffee. According to WIRED, using pods/capsules is the second most sustainable way to make and drink coffee.

After instant coffee, coffee pods are the most sustainable way to make and drink coffee… Image Credit: Nespresso

Alf Hill, professor of chemical engineering at the University of Bath, explained that despite the huge amounts of waste coffee pods produce, (most people throw them in the bin once used) they actually aren’t that bad for the environment. This is because the growing of coffee beans is the highest contributor in the coffee industry to unsustainability and coffee pods don’t use many beans at all when compared to other coffee-making methods.

“The impact, such as greenhouse gas emissions [and] water and fertiliser use, mostly occurs where the coffee is grown. Capsules tend to need less coffee input to make a single drink and so their overall impact can be lower even though we see more waste when we throw them away.”

Alf Hill

Plus, many companies are trying to make or already offer recyclable coffee pods to cut down landfill waste. For instance, Nestle’s Nescafé Dolce Gusto coffee pods are completely recyclable as are Nespresso’s.

Although Nespresso pods, need to be returned to the store to be recycled. This is due to a silicon lining (which is not acceptable for regular recycling bins) that all Nespresso pods possess. Therefore, the pods require a tailored recycling process which is completed at Nespresso’s own factory.

So, if you’re a coffee-lover who wants to be greener but can’t stand the taste of instant coffee, get your fix with a coffee machine that uses pods. Because even the snobbiest coffee drinker would admit that coffee pods produce quality coffee; even Michelin-starred restaurants have started making their coffee with pods

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