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No. There isn’t a way to use pods that is both convenient and not an environmental problem

    Pod trash at City of Toronto

    Also, you can’t turn that into a catchy, appealing marketing phrase. That’s unfortunate, because catchy and appealing seems to be winning the day for the pods.

    A “friend*” asks: “Is there a “nespresso” style coffee maker where I don’t have to use proprietary pods that make tons of garbage?

    The answer is no. There are refillable pods, but they are a pain. They are also sold by Wayfair, the same company that benefits from the ICE raids in the US.

    Search results for coffee pod garbage
    <span style=color ff0000>Search results for coffee pod garbage show that the industry is hiding the impact from us<span>

    Or, for less than the effort of the refillable pods, one can use an espresso machine.

    For the record. There is no way to use a coffee pod machine that isn’t problematic if you want it to be convenient as well. They are either inconvenient (to fill), or they are an environmental problem.

    I was told that pointing these things out constitutes harassment. This is a person who, when I took him to a food trade show refused to have such a coffee and shamed me for taking one.

    To be very clear, I didn’t go out of my way to find someone who uses these and shame them.  The question was asked if there was a responsible way to do this and I answered.

    If you want both convenience and not to be totally self-absorbed about your impact on the environment get an all-in-one machine like this, which automatically measures and grinds your coffee (in the long run much cheaper and more convenient than the pointless pods.

    Even if they were producing properly compostable pods, the industrial effort in making them is a shameful waste of resources in itself.

    What one needs to do, is not shave 10 seconds off of coffee making time, but to shift ones mind so that this tiny effort isn’t magnified beyond reason.

    Ultimately, if you want to do something and not feel bad about it, you have two options. Make defensible choices, or abandon your sense of responsibility.

    Or, as was pointed out by environmental advocate Chris Istace, of The Mindful Explorer blog who generously proofread this article:

    “…so many fail to see the consumptive waste of having to have the single purpose machine in their house that can’t do anything but make a single pod of coffee,  My kettle does everything in my house.”


    *It feels odd to have to put quotes around that word, but obviously this person is not dedicated to a standard of friendship which has any real meaning.

    2 thoughts on “No. There isn’t a way to use pods that is both convenient and not an environmental problem”

    1. Thank-you for bringing up this important topic. Unfortunately things like instant pod coffee and so much else in societies importance being placed on convenience is having a catastrophic impact on the environment. We need to be extremely mindful of the full life cycle impact of the decisions we make as consumers, we have the power to shape how companies behave and treat the environment.

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