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How your coffee demand is destroying the environment

Plastic K-Cups are causing unprecedented issues for landfills. How is one Vancouver-based startup tackling this issue?

Aman Kapoor, Hazel Technologies
January 13, 2016 2:03 pm CST

Coffee has long been a staple in American diets. In recent years Keurig has revolutionized how we receive our coffee fix through single serve coffee pods called K-Cups. But unfortunately, even Keurig has a fatal flaw.

In 2015, the National Coffee Association showed over a quarter of American households own a single serve coffee machine! This has driven America to peak coffee consumption at 24 million bags.

Keurig has become an industry leader for this increasingly popular brew method.

Helping build K-Cup’s appeal are multiple flavors, cup sized portions, and virtually zero clean up time.

Unfortunately, these machines use non-recyclable plastic coffee pods which require replacement after only one use.

Examples of Single Service Coffee Pods. These pods are non-recyclable, and therefore must be buried

Examples of Single Service Coffee Pods. These pods are non-recyclable, and therefore must be buried in landfills after disposal.

The G-Kup provides an alternative to non-recyclable coffee cups

The G-Kup provides an alternative to non-recyclable coffee cups, and is the first of its kind, according to professors at the University of British Comlumbia.


In 2014 alone, there was enough Keurig pods buried in land fills to circle the earth 10 times...

But there is a solution on the horizon. With the increasingly popular method of brewing coffee, and use of environmentally harmful plastics, a Vancouver startup called G-KUP has begun making 100% compostable coffee pods.

Pitch Video for Vancouver-based coffee startup G-KUP

G-KUP claims to be "the first Keurig-compatible single serve coffee pod made from readily renewable materials and is 100 percent compostable".

Experts are agreeing. Anthony Lau, a professor at the University of British Columbia told CanadianManufacturing.com, “Our laboratory testing demonstrates complete (G-KUP) cup degradation after 12 weeks, a first for the single serve beverage pod market.”

G-KUP’s can also be used to brew tea and other soluble drinks. The revolutionary idea uses renewable materials with a “dynamic design,” while keeping the integrity, and taste of coffee.  

So what are your thoughts? Would you try a G-KUP?

Let us know on Twitter @HazelBlog

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