Local Inventor of K-Cups Feels Bad for Causing Major Plastic Sabotage

K-cups are fabulous, but evil.


Mark Ordonez / Flickr

Plastic sabotage might be the appropriate phrase for what’s happening with K-cups. As innovative as the Keurig coffee machines are with their single-brew abilities and little pods of happiness, K-cups, in the words of Atlantic writer James Hamblin, are undoubtedly causing an “environmental shitstorm.”

Massachusetts-based guy and inventor of the Keurig coffee machine, John Sylvan, got real honest in the magazine’s latest feature about the appliance that might actually be ruining people, places, and things largely everywhere. And Sylvan, though he’s now a millionaire thanks to his invention, is feeling a bit remorseful about it.

But only a little bit. With major plastic sabotage, as we know, there’s no going back.

major plastic sabotage

The saga began when Sylvan, a recent Colby grad in the early 90s, was a mere twenty-something with an innovative single-cup coffee idea he knew there was a market for. Fast forward to present day, and Keurig Green Mountain is likely putting millions of K-cups into the world every year, and nowhere to put them except the garbage.

“No matter what they say about recycling, those things will never be recyclable,” Sylvan said in the feature. He later added that he “feels bad sometimes” that he ever did it.

Keurig Green Mountain appears to be looking for an alternative solution outside their plastic products. The Atlantic piece makes the process seem like it’s going slowly, but surely.

Ultimately, Keurig Green Mountain pledged to make a fully recyclable version of the K-cup by the year 2020. So the future holds promise in terms of recovering from the K-cups’ environmental turmoil.

Ecological wreckage, as we know, is not so fetch.