Fatal Conveniences™: Keurig Coffee Machines: Pods of Waste

Fatal Conveniences™: Keurig Coffee Machines: Pods of Waste

Why do we try so hard to reinvent the wheel? There are so many ways to make coffee safely and efficiently, yet we managed to screw that all up with k-cups. Keurig, Nespresso, and other coffee pod machines are ruining our planet – and our health.

Welcome to Fatal Conveniences™. 

If you laid out all the k-cups in the world, they would circle the Earth 10.5 times.

Coffee pods are one of the most wasteful inventions yet. These tiny little unnecessary single-use plastic capsules are sitting in landfills and floating in waterways all over the globe. We’ve once again created a fatal convenience that saves us a little bit of time with a huge cost to the environment. And it doesn’t even make a good cup of coffee!

This one shouldn’t be a big surprise – we all know how wasteful those coffee pods are. Not only that, but the machine itself is a mold and bacteria petri dish! But if you’ve been holding on to your Keurig despite that knowledge, maybe this episode will be that push you need to finally cut the cord. No pun intended. It’s time to ditch those coffee pod machines and go back to the old-school java methods.

Segment Breakdown:
  • [00:01:50] The list of reasons to avoid K-cup machines
  • [00:03:20] The history of the Keurig machine
  • [00:06:34] Why should you care?
  • [00:08:20] The horrors of k-cups
  • [00:09:12] Bacteria laden water
  • [00:12:20] Are aluminum pods safer?
  • [00:14:10] Pods and the environment
  • [00:15:30] Better options (that will also save you money!)

Episode Transcript

Darin: It’s that time of the week for another fatal convenience. This is a bite-size segment that addresses some of society’s fatal conveniences and the steps you can take to avoid becoming a victim of them. I define fatal conveniences as the things we may be doing because the world we live in makes us believe we have to, tap water, shampoo, sunglasses, food. I dive into the hidden truths behind some of our everyday choices that could not only be harming us but even killing us, so let’s dive in.

Darin: Hey, everybody, welcome to the show. This is Darin Olien. This is another Fatal Convenience. This one’s gonna hurt some of you. Oh, I’m so sorry. But I’m not because this freaking thing needs to be exposed. This is Keurig/Nespresso coffee makers. There are so many issues with this thing, it is unbelievable. So if you have one, I’m sorry, go back, get an espresso machine. It barely saves you any time, and you’re not going to be exposed. Listen, you think it’s harmless, you think it’s so convenient. These damn cups, aluminum, leaching into the coffee, plastic, all of this stuff, not recyclable or if it is, it doesn’t get recycled. It just gets put in our environment. Many of them, billions of them, but we’ll get into that.

So these little things, there are so many negative side effects from personal health to the environment. There are strains of bacteria, carcinogenic compounds, destruction of the ecosystem, plastic pollution. Man, do I need to go through the details? Do you get it? I’ll explain to you why and how this is, but it’s pretty crazy. Despite these slick, current marketing campaigns, even the original founder, John Sylvan, has been reported to say, “I feel bad sometimes that I ever did it.” No matter what they say about recycling, those things will never be recycled. Not to mention the way they constructed this thing, which I’ll get underneath it and explain to you from water perspective, this thing is just gnarly, and the quality is horrible. I’m gonna conclude everything almost right here. One pound of this stale, low-quality coffee from Nespresso and Keurig pods equates to over $50 a pound. Is that convenient for your pocketbook? Is that convenient for your health? Is that convenient for the environment? No, no, no, no people, hazardous to you, hazardous habit, hazardous for the environment. Let’s do better. Just going through history a little bit.

1975, Eric Favre engineer at Nestle found himself in Italy enjoying a luxurious espresso bar, fascinated by the rich and creamy and flavor. He witnessed the complex method of using this espresso machine with pressure and temperature and vapor. It’s not that easy. They don’t make it look that easy. So he spent the next 10 years, and then in 1986, Nestle decided to register the Nespresso trademark and patent Favre’s work in Switzerland. Initially, it was marketed to office buildings in Switzerland and Japan. It failed to garner heightened attention. In 1988, John Paul Jellard’s addition to the Nespresso team proved invaluable rather than marketing companies targeted the home consumer and that’s where it really blew up. In 1990, college roommates, Peter Dragone and John Sylvan, and again, created the foundation of Keurig. In 1992, Keurig official founded and while Nespresso had the financial backing of Nestle, Keurig was initially founded without any large corporations. In 1996, Green Mountain Coffee reserve purchases 35% of Keurig and in 1997 introduction of K-cup pod, this crappy little pod that they made. Sorry, people. In 2020, Nespresso recorded sales of 6.4 billion in US plus United States, now the largest market. So we’re buying into this Nespresso atomic bomb of issues which I’m going to get into. Keurig 2020 recorded sales of 11.6 billion. Whoa, both Nespresso and Keurig capsules, and machines sold ubiquitously in the global market department stores online. You can get these things anywhere. So here’s where it makes it really convenient. You don’t have to boil water, you don’t have to grind beans, and you just hit a button and you have instant Nespresso based on these little pods. You just hit this press start. And every occasionally, you have to refill water. And then, of course, you can get light, medium, dark, roasted, all of that stuff, even hot chocolate. And that’s not the problem. It’s like all these things, you got to buy the machine, you got to buy the pods, so they’ve got you buying both things. And then after the first basically 30 days, it becomes more affordable, from 75 to 90 cents per pod per serving versus 3.45 for an average coffee shop coffee. So whatever, okay, it’s cheaper in the long haul, but you’re getting toxins, carcinogens, hormone disruptors, crappy coffee, and putrified water. So that’s a little dramatic, but it’s bacteria-ridden water. So why should you care?

Well, 50% of Americans over the age of 18 drink coffee every day. So that’s over 400 million daily cups of coffee in the US alone. So yeah, there’s a lot of coffee being drunk. And if you’re making it at home, well, it’s a lot cheaper if you do it yourself. By using these machines, it’s about $50 a pound, and you’re getting poor quality coffee with all of these issues from bacteria, carcinogens, etc, which I’ll go into right now. So obviously, if you’re going to Starbucks, you’re going to all these other things, that’s expensive, just getting a normal cup of coffee is dollars, right? So it’s multiple dollars. So you’re probably going to be saving money there, but you’re also getting hit with all of these toxins. It’s just interesting fact that in 2005 to 2020 ownership of single-cup coffee machines in the US increased from 1% to 40%. So obviously, Nespresso and Keurig went on that trajectory. So in 2020, Nespresso recorded sales of $6.4 billion in the US. 2020 Keurig, recorded sales of $11.6 billion. John Hocevar quoted saying, “Coffee pods are one of the best examples of unnecessary single-use plastic that are polluting our planet.”

And in 2013, Keurig’s K-cups, which they’re proud to say is their cup that they use, they sold enough to circle the earth 10.5 times. So our unnecessary convenience here, we’re polluting the planet so much just in this product alone can circle the planet 10.5 times. That is absolutely astonishing. So now big drumroll. Why are these so harmful? Let’s get into it. So Nespresso and Keurig’s pods burden society on two fronts from a health perspective and the machine, of course, and the environment. So here’s the problem. Let’s get into the water side of things on both of these machines.

Once your Keurig is home, the brewer is primed, you cannot empty the water. The water is inside and all the mechanisms. Stagnant water breeds bacteria, bacteria that is harmful, molds, etc. Kelly Reynolds was reported in saying from the University of Arizona, coffee makers are certainly a moist environment where mold and bacteria are known to grow in high numbers. Our bodies can deal with them, but at some point, they’ll grow to levels high enough to cause sickness. Again, people, things added up over time is what’s causing the issues. Hot water and acidity of these coffee machines fail to kill all of these microbes. So Donna Duberg from St. Louis University, quoted as saying, “It is only about 50% effective in killing bacteria.” Meaning, the hot steaming side of it is not a necessary kill step. Strains of E. coli, staph, strep, pseudomonas found in tested samples of coffee machines. So you know how everyone’s freaking about bacteria and viruses, all that stuff? Well, you’re propagating it, you’re promoting it in your own damn coffee machines by using these things. Furin is extracted from coffee capsules. Furin is a parent compound for a class of compounds that are toxic or carcinogenic. Okay, so furins are extracted from the capsules themselves. Side effects according to the EPA, a known carcinogen alteration in hormone levels resulting in skin disease, suppressed immune system, etc, directly from the EPA. Phthalates which you’ve heard about in many of my other episodes in my fatal conveniences, they use to make plastic durable and now resulting in hormone disruption. So again, EPA, FDA, they know about this stuff. Are they doing anything about it? And they say, well, these levels are safe. It’s added up over time. No one has done the study. So, therefore, I’m telling you, Yukon researchers quote in saying, “Coffee brewed from capsule machines may contain estrogenic compounds mitigated from plastic, it completely disorganizes the body’s endocrine system.” So here’s the brewing process. You’ve got high temperatures, you’ve got pressurization that allows for the chemicals to be extracted out of these containers, out of these plastics. Nespresso markets their aluminum pods as safer alternatives compared to the plastic K-cups from Keurig.

However, studies draw a correlation between aluminum and negative health effects as well on the human health. Aluminum exposure and uptake, especially now at this temperature and pressure have been linked to neurodegenerative diseases, Alzheimers, Parkinson’s, dementia, and other severe illnesses such as breast cancer. And these are all studies in the show notes. So people, fatal convenience, 100% all of these machines with plastics and temperature and pressure, there are chemicals, there’s poor quality coffee. You get stale coffee that’s already ground, so it’s not even fresh anymore. It’s put in these little capsules. And then you have poor quality coffee plus a bunch of chemicals that disrupt your hormone systems, as well as put you on the road for carcinogenic cancers. While organic variations exist, the overwhelming majority of coffee within coffee pods are produced with dangerous pesticides and an endless list of health and environmental side effects. However, some include dermatological, gastrointestinal, neurological, carcinogenic, respiratory, reproductive, and endocrine effects. This was again, based on a study in our show notes. So again, you’re not just getting coffee people, you’re getting chemicals in stale coffee. Is that worth it? No.

So for the environment perspective, they say K-cups are recyclable. There’s no way that these recyclable companies have sifting mechanisms to make them recyclable. So it’s just a marketing scam. They’re not getting recycled. The overall about a plastic that you separate, only 9% of that is even recycled. And then when they’re in these little smaller cups and things like that, they’re not recycling that. They can’t sift through that. They can’t find that. In 2017, a Keurig was condemned by the Clean Water Action and leading the company to declare these recyclable pods didn’t do anything because they can’t recycle. In 2017, the accounting for the number of coffee pods produced by Nespresso was 30 billion floating in our oceans, in our rivers, and toxifying Mother Earth. So is there enough issues for you now? Poor quality coffee, pesticide written coffee, stale coffee with chemicals, and aluminum in plastic and endocrine-disrupting compounds, as well as carcinogenic compounds. Is it worth it?

All you have to do to wean off, a French press. It’s $24. Get a little grinder, grind it fresh, you save money. Stainless steel glass, it’s 100% recyclable. It’s 100% reusable. Keep using it, you clean it, no molds, no bacteria, no plastics. An espresso maker, $23.99, easy, same as a fresh press. These are ways you’ve just bought into the delusion, Nespresso and Keurig is faster. It’s not faster. It’s saving you what, a minute, two minutes of your time, three minutes. The ritual of coffee is the most powerful thing. Go back to the ritual. Also, I get it. You’re not going to give up your coffee, but you can also try incredible things like matcha green tea, antioxidants. It’s fighting cancer, it’s not giving you cancer, adaptogens, Lion’s Mane, great for the brain. Hell, add some cacao, phenylethylamine, turning on the brain in the morning, astragalus, Rhodiola Rosea is one of my favorites. Okay, people, my mission is for you to have safe water to drink and even in your coffee makers. Well, Nespresso and Keurig fail. They fail in not eliminating toxins in the water that they’re holding for your beverages. And they fail because it’s full of bacteria and molds. They fail at keeping you safe from chemicals, carcinogens that are affecting your body, your hormones, etc. I’m sorry if any of you are investors in these companies but too bad because this shouldn’t be drunk this way. We shouldn’t use this. We should knowingly now expose ourselves to these toxins. Okay, that’s it, everyone. I’m not telling you to give up your coffee, although I’m not a big fan of coffee, but I’m not going to attack it in this episode. I’m just going to go after these machines that are not healthy for you, the plastics that are not healthy for you, the plastics that circle the earth 10.5 times that are all over Mother Earth. Don’t do it, get rid of it, give it away. And probably the best thing to do is just hit it with the hammer, break it, throw it away because it’s not even good to give away. Because then you’re knowingly giving toxins to other people. So I’m sorry if you have one, but I’m not sorry. You can change those habits quite easily and make better coffee, organic coffee, fresh coffee, and not being exposed. Guess what? We liberated you from more toxic exposure. Let’s celebrate that. All right. Love you all.

Darin: Thanks for tuning in everyone. I hope that left you feeling inspired to take a closer look at the everyday choices you’re making and how they could be impacting your health and even the planet. If you want to learn more about life’s fatal conveniences, head over to fatalconveniences.com. You can sign up for the exclusive access to Fatal Conveniences episodes, news, insights, and more. And all this great stuff gets sent each week straight to your inbox, making it really easy. Now, that’s a convenience without the negative side effects. It only takes a few seconds to join. Just fill in the form and take that amazing step towards making better choices. Remember, small changes can have big impact. So, keep diving my friends, keep diving. And if you haven’t had a chance to check out the interview, I released earlier on the week, here’s what you missed:

Lauren: So I threw out the meds, and I dove deep into fermented foods. I started making them at home, I read books, I watched YouTube. And the process of fermentation, not only was it healing my physical body, but spiritually it was changing the entire way that I saw the world. I was still very sick, I don’t want to make it seem like I just got better like that. I was still very sick. But on those days where I felt like I might even die, I remember that there’s a whole world of beings, microorganisms, that’s working for me and they’re all over and they’re inside of me. And so I’m really sick right now that this reality is not all that there is. And so I really took solace in having there be other realities, other possibilities, and knowing that there are other beings that are working on my behalf.

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