Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Single-Serve Selfishness

Single-serve coffee cartridge with foil top
Coffee starts out as a not-so-environmentally responsible drink, due to its long-distance transport and effects on habitat destruction, but the recently popular single-cup coffeemakers multiply the wastefulness.

The convenience of single-serve production means each person can have just what s/he wants, with no need to compromise on a shared pot, god forbid. This could, I suppose, merely be annoying, if it didn't require "cartridges" that are made from three different types of material, meaning they can't be recycled.

Nine billion of these cartridges have been sold so far (source), with sales having doubled in both 2010 and 2011. Each serving costs around 60 cents, just for the drink contents.

Everyone has to buy the cartridges from centralized food processing companies, too, as opposed to the possibility of buying locally roasted and ground coffee.

Not to mention that this new approach causes people to replace existing coffeemakers and add on accessories to hold all of those little plastic cups.

Why do we keep finding ways to make our lives easier at the expense of the future?


Unemployed Dragon said...

I won one of these and put it aside until my ancient coffee maker finally quit. With a pound of coffee in the fridge, those little cups drove me nuts pretty fast! I found a reusable cup which helps a lot!
I do like not having leftover coffee to deal with.

Daughter Number Three said...

I did hear about the reusable cup -- glad you found it and it works. The fact that it's an option instead of the default is what bugs me, of course. It's all about convenience for many people, and max profit for the makers.

Just like ink cartridges and printers.