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Carbon Footprints and Coffee: Can the K-Cup Become Earth-Friendly?

Every morning, in offices and homes alike, people turn to the convenience of K-Cup coffee pods and Keurig brewing machines to get their morning dose of caffeine. Just how many pods are used each year? Some estimates note that empty K-Cups sold by Green Mountain Coffee could circle the Earth between 10.5 and 12 times.

While an impressive number for sales, it’s not as helpful for the environment. The cups are not recyclable and do not break down easily. Keurig does offer a recyclable Vue pod, but the K-Cup remains the most popular way for consumers to quickly create teas and coffees. Two startup companies, however, are looking to reduce the carbon imprint of using one of these convenient machines.

G-Kup Coffee, based in Vancouver, has been working since 2012 to create 100% compostable single-serve coffee pods. Lead by entrepreneur Darren Footz, the company has been able to create premium coffees that don’t make you feel guilty about the trash you are creating, although they are still working on that elusive 100% compostable pod.

Toronto-based Club Coffee has a longer pedigree, first selling coffee in 1906. It’s new PurPod100 is currently being developed, and claims to be 100% compostable. It’s set to debut in Fall 2015, and if successful, will be the world’s first fully compostable coffee pod.

The Keurig K-Cup was a revolutionary idea for the coffee industry, but like most innovations, it required some tinkering to let it reach its full potential. These two companies, if they prove successful, can show that making a delicious product can be environmentally friendly, too. Just make sure you pour it into a compostable cup.