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Hamburg bans single-use coffee pods due to environmental concerns

The invention of coffee machines with single-use pods seemed to be a great idea, no? Fast, tasty and with a lot of flavor options to choose in such an easy way. But years after the success and popularization of this machines we are facing a new dilemma: what to do with the capsules?

This is a relatively complicated question to answer and one of the reason is that these little cups are made from a mix of plastic and aluminum, and most recycling plants in the world are unable to recycle them correctly.

Foreseeing the harm that these "innocent" little cups will bring in the future, the city of Hamburg, in Germany, was the first one to forbid the use of single-use coffee pods from all official buildings of the government. The action is part of a major plan that aims making the city more sustainable and environmentally friendly.

"These portion packs cause unnecessary resource consumption and waste generation, and often contain polluting aluminum," said Jan Dube from the Hamburg Department of the Environment and Energy. "It’s 6 grams of coffee in 3 grams of packaging. We in Hamburg thought that these shouldn’t be bought with taxpayers' money."

Since 2011, sales of single-serve coffee grew more than three times in Western Europe and in the United States. In 2014, major pod manufacturers Keurig sold around 9.8 billion portion packs, and only 5 percent of those they said were recyclable.

The company informed that they will have a version that you can recycle tottaly of the single-use K-cup by 2020. Maybe it can be too late!

John Sylvan, founder of Keurig and inventor of the K-cup, already said in an interview that sometimes he regrets of having invented the pod and “no matter what they say about recycling, those things will never be recyclable." Maybe it’s time for everybody start to worry about it too.

Did you know how how bad these little cups are?

No? Neither a lot of people that consume this kind of coffee every day. For example, a recent poll showed that just 1 in 10 people from England thinks that coffee pods are bad for the environment, but on the other hand, 22 percent of them confimed that thee have a pod-machine.

And to be even more worried about it, these machines are more and more popular around the globe. For you to have an idea, already 13 percent of people in Germany have the habit of using single-cups every day, and in the Unites States, the percent raises to 15 to 25 percent between 2014 and 2015.

Another problem is that we are a generation that usually say one thing and generally do another. Many people speak carry about sustainability, but don’t really do anything towards that.

Going back to Hamburg’s case, the law only applies to the people that works in buildings owned by the government, so coffee pods are still legal anywhere else. Anyway, it’s really nice to see that governments around the world are playing their roles to achieve a more sustainable planet.

And you, what are you doing for a better world?

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