Keurig: $50 a Pound and a Trail of Waste — or Nothing

Keurig

In August 2014, when Keurig introduced its “2.0” line of coffeemakers, it stopped making the refillable, non-disposable “My K-Cup.”  It turned out that consumers weren’t having it.

We all know the Keurig K-Cup, a single-serving coffee brewing system. They can be seen in corporate break rooms and auto dealerships around the country. K-Cups hold a huge percentage of the coffee market and as a result they create mountains of plastic waste. It’s the second most popular coffee-making method and its estimated that 20% of adults now use K-Cups. If that wasn’t bad enough, K-cup pods price out at $50-$60 for a pound of coffee.

According to the Washington Post, when Keurig introduced its “2.0” line of coffeemakers, it stopped making the refillable, non-disposable “My K-Cup” and also made their new machines incompatible with any K-cups already in existence (as well as with any unlicensed disposable K-cups made by other companies). As WaPo noted: ” It was $50 a pound and a trail of waste — or nothing.”

Consumer backlash was swift and decisive.  Consumer review websites such as Amazon, as well as on Keurig’s own social media sites, were slammed with negative feedback. But, more importantly, the power of our big green purse made Keurig reconsider its shameless move. The company has reported that sales of Keurig machines have tanked, with sales of brewers and accessories having declined by 23%. Keurig’s stock price fell 10 percent in after hours trading and as of today, the stock is trading at a near 52-week low.

So, Keurig just announced its bringing back the K-cup.

This all comes on the heels of years of consumer efforts to improve K-cups’s recyclability. Only 5% of K-Cups are recyclable currently, but Keurig has pledged that by 2020 all of their K-Cups will be recyclable. Jeff McIntire-Strasburg over at Sustainablog shared this video along with details about K-Cup recycling.

Want to know more? Check out this petition demanding that Keurig make K-Cups fully recyclable now, not by 2020 as they pledged.

Rob Hainer / Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

is a former marketing consultant who decided, at the age of fifty, to turn her hand to creative non-fiction. Jennifer continues to write about sustainable food and wine, the intersection of food and marketing and food politics for EatDrinkBetter.com and is the author of Greening Your Small Business (November 2009, Penguin Group (USA)). She was named one of The 16 Women You Must Follow on Twitter for Green Business. She has four kids, a dog, a hamster and an MBA - follow her on and .
  • Susan Jenkins

    Keurig has purposely screwed the public with the 2/0 machine. They didn’t bother to mention the fact that it only takes cups with a white ring around it, as well as it no longer accepts the reusable cup.

  • cetacea

    The digital rights management or DRM sensor is so easily fooled and the entire menu unlocked that it makes you wonder why Keurig bothered developing it in the first place. I mean a bright yellow sharpie and some tape and you can use whatever coffee pod you want–including a reusable cup. Plus it unlocks the whole menu which is nice for those of us that don’t drink 6oz cups of coffee in a 10oz cup.

  • cetacea

    On another note. Wide Awake Coffee has a wonderfully better design for the traditional plastic pod anyway. And it’s good coffee. :)

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