Keurig Coffee is in Big Trouble

December 6th 2015

Keurig Green Mountain—the company behind the single-cup coffee brewing machine and individual serving pods—is contending with a slump in sales.

Keurig has been the bane of environmentalists everywhere since many realized its single-use, (for the most part) non-recyclable coffee pods were a source of pollution. Enough Keurig K-Cups have already been used to circle the Earth more than 12 times. In March of 2015, the Atlantic published a deep-dive story on K-Cups, which among other things, revealed that the inventor John Sylvan said that sometimes he "feels bad" for creating non-recyclable pods.

A website called "Kill the K-Cup" explains all of the reasons K-Cups are a hazard to the environment:

Growing environmental concern over K-Cup pollution may be one of the factors affecting Keurig's financial success: Sales have been declining since the end of 2014, and its new product, Keurig Kold, isn't doing very well.

Keurig salesBuzzfeed/Keurig Green Mountain - buzzfeed.com

The Keurig Kold is a soda machine the company just released after spending years developing the technology. It uses disposable pods to create single servings of different kinds of sodas. The appliance costs around $370, and people don't appear to be that interested. The company only expects to sell 60,000 to 100,000 machines in the first year it's available, and many are complaining that it's too expensive, too slow, and too large.

Here's part of one of its most recent Amazon.com reviews:

"POP QUIZ! Let's say you're having a get together and 10 people show up. Everyone is thirsty. What seems easier?
A. Saying, "Help yourself. There's cans of soda in the fridge."
B. Getting out 10 glasses, and waiting 90 seconds to fill each one, one by one until you fill 6 up of course and then you have to refill the reservoir and wait for the machine to chill a while. Oh you forgot to take the seal off the pod? That's $1.25 you've just thrown in the trash."

The reviewer said he received the device in exchange for an unbiased review and did not enjoy it. The reviewer complained about the size, the noise, the price, and the cost to the environment.

Critics have faulted Keurig for its use of Digital Rights Management technology in its Keurig 2.0 machines (which could play into declining sales). DRM is used in appliances and things such as cars, and it's extremely controversial. It's designed to prevent consumers from using off-brand products with a particular branded product, such as using a non-Keurig disposable coffee pod in a Keurig machine. But Keurig recently announced they will abandon DRM technology.

In terms of recycling,Keurig Green Mountain, announced that it is working towards 100 percent recyclable K-Cups—but they probably won't be released until 2020. In the meantime, if you are a concerned Keurig user, parts of K-Mug pods can be recycled.

Share your opinion

Are you less likely to use a Keurig machine now that you know about its environmental impact?

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