Hamburg becomes the first city to reject single-use coffee pods
They're compact, convenient and make a tasty brew. But single use coffee pods also create a staggering amount of waste.
According to Kill the K-Cup, an ad campaign against the product, there were enough K-Cups discarded in 2014 to circle the earth more than 10 times. Even the inventor of the K-Cup, John Sylvan, has admitted he regrets creating the product.
"We think it's time to evaluate this very critically," Jens Kerstan tells As It Happens host Carol Off. "If you look at the logical costs about efficiency, energy efficiency, about waste and, in the end, of money — it makes no sense buying those machines."
Kerstan is the senator for the Hamburg Ministry for Environment and Energy.
The ban is part of a broader comprehensive 150-page plan released by the city that prioritises sustainable and green initiatives.
Kerstan knows it will be difficult to persuade people to give up the convenient coffee pods — a system which he estimates accounts for 25 percent of coffee consumption in Germany.
Recycling doesn't really help. Recycling should be used if all other alternatives don't work and there are much more efficient and better ways to produce coffee than those capsules.- Jens Kerstan, Hamburg Ministry for Environment and Energy
When asked what he makes of the K-Cup creator telling As It Happens that he regrets his invention, Kerstan suggests Sylvan probably never anticipated the product would be so successful and damaging to the environment.
"I can understand him. I don't really pity him," Kerstan quips. "But, in the end, everybody has to make his choices and everybody has responsibility for the environment and, in the end, for a good future — for future generations not yet born."