The Weekly Open Thread: Convenience Versus Environmentalism — Where Do You Stand?



  • Brad Wenner, for East Bay Express
Last week, Oakland alt-weekly East Bay Express had a story about the environmental impact of the single-pod home-brewed coffee craze, titled "Waste: The Dark Side of the new Coffee Craze."

An excerpt:

As consumers replace bags of ground coffee in their pantries with boxes of disposable pods, the amount of packaging waste associated with coffee-making has swelled exponentially. "We can get to a cup of coffee dozens of different ways," said Martin Bourque, director of the Ecology Center in Berkeley. "The best way is a large volume of coffee that goes into a cup that's washed and reused a thousand times, and the coffee goes to compost or mushroom production. That's best-case scenario," he said. "The worst-case scenario is these pods."

How concerned are you with the environmental impact of your food and beverage decisions? Do you use single-cup pods, capsules, K-cups or similar coffee-brewing systems?

And where do you stand on the issue of bottled water? Do you drink it regularly? Make an effort to avoid it as much as possible?

I've cut way down on my bottled-water consumption. I will sometimes buy Pellegrino (usually in glass), and when I'm on a road trip, I may grab a bottled water or two. Otherwise, I rarely purchase bottled water, and try to keep a stainless-steel water bottle handy. And I brew coffee the old-fashioned way — either in a coffee machine or Chemex. But my coffee methods are dictated more by preference and expense than concerns about the environment. And I'm sure I am involved in a lot of less-than-green practices that I'm not even aware of. I certainly don't claim to be a saint on the matter.

Where do you stand on convenience versus environmentalism? What else is on your mind?

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