Inventor of Keurig K-Cups Is Sorry He Ever Came Up With the Idea (VIDEO)

coffee podsCoffee addicts, office dwellers, and anyone who's gotten gifted upon tying the knot are among the gazillions of people who now own a Keurig coffee brewer. Seriously, almost one in three American homes now has a pod-based coffee machine. Why bother with a whole, old school pot of coffee when you can pop one of those convenient little pods into the Keurig and have a neat, clean, mess-free cup of joe? Well, for one thing: Because the guy who invented the K-cup, John Sylvan, now regrets doing so and is firmly opposed to their use. It's true! 


In a buzzworthy (no pun intended), eye-opening piece in The Atlantic, Sylvan says, “I feel bad sometimes that I ever did it.”

Not only because K-Cups are becoming more ubiquitous than ever, but because the company's aims to rectify the issue seem half-hearted at best. Last year, Keurig announced they plan to create a fully recyclable version of the K-Cup ... by 2020. But in the meantime, the waste is piling up. Only 5 percent of K-Cups are recyclable, and the rest are made of No. 7 plastic, which is basically just going to sit in landfills.

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As far as experts can tell, the Keurig pods buried in 2014 would actually circle the Earth more than 12 times.

Also, in the meantime, the new Keurig 2.0 is a complete assault on any sort of eco-friendly solution, because it doesn't offer reusable filters, the pods are too small to be handled by most recycling systems, and -- get this -- the new Keurig 2.0 has a digital rights management system that will not allow you to brew pods made by rival companies. Pods that may be biodegradable and compostable. Awesome. 

No wonder there's a whole viral campaign to "#KilltheKCup." (At, people can sign a petition that asks Keurig to improve its product.) No wonder a production group called Egg Studios came up with this brillz video with the tagline, "Kill the K-Cup, before it kills our planet."

Whether you're a K-Cup fan or not, you've gotta admit it's pretty alarming to think that it's so wasteful and the solutions that Keurig has posited so far really aren't, well, solving much of anything for the time-being. 

As Egg Studios' CEO Mike Hachey puts it:

If you ever find yourself throwing out a K-Cup, and then you remember that 13 billion went into landfills last year, do you feel okay contributing to that? That's what it comes down to.

If we care at all about the future of our planet, and really would prefer not to live in a garbage dump, but we still want our caffeine quicker, our best bet is using machines that allow compostable pods, like San Francisco Bay OneCups ($29 for 80 pods, Or you could try a recyclable K-Cup like the ones from Dean’s Beans. The New England company launched a fully recyclable, #5 plastic K-Cup alternative that features organic and fair trade coffee.

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Of course, there's always the option of brewing in a drip maker or French press. (Some, like the Breville YouBrew system, which I have and love, allow you to do a single serving!) That's really not that taxing now, is it?

How do you feel about K-Cups? Do you think we could do without the unrecyclable, plastic ones?


Image via Daniela Staerk/

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