Halt Sales of Plastic Coffee Pods

Target: Craig Jelinek, CEO of Costco

Goal: Stop sales of wasteful and environmentally harmful single-use coffee pods.

One-serving plastic coffee cups known as K-Cups are incredibly harmful to the environment. However, they are also incredibly common. Nine billion K-Cups were sold in the last year alone. If lined up end to end, these cups could ring the earth 10 times over. The company that provides them, Keurig Green Mountain, has only now started to make them recyclable. Even if they are recycled, producing them still increases greenhouse gas emissions. It is time for consumers to stand up to retailers and tell them that we don’t want this product on the shelves. Urge Costco CEO Craig Jelinek, to stop selling K-Cups.

While making K-Cups recyclable is an important step forward, many environmental issues linked to these cups are still to be addressed. For example, they are neither reusable nor compostable. In addition, making the cups recyclable is no guarantee that they will actually be recycled. As of 2013, Americans recycled only 34.3 percent of their total waste. This is compared to the 75 percent of American waste that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says is recyclable.

K-Cups start creating environmental waste even before consumers throw them away. Making the packaging used in K-Cups creates greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gases have been the primary contributor to global warming since the middle of the 20th century. From 1990 to 2010, the amount of greenhouse gases produced worldwide has increased by 35 percent.

As consumers, we have the ability to “vote with our pocketbooks.” Don’t purchase K-Cups and tell retailers like Costco not to buy them.


Dear Mr. Jelinek,

Costco must stop selling the environmentally harmful product known as K-Cups. K-Cups are single serving plastic coffee pods. They are neither reusable nor compostable, and up until recently they weren’t even recyclable. If arranged in a row, the number of K-Cups sold in the last year could stretch around the earth 10 times over. Take K-Cups off the shelves and protect the environment we all depend on.

The environmental waste generated from K-Cups begins before they even reach the consumer. Production of K-Cups creates harmful greenhouse gases, which are the primary contributor to global warming. The number of greenhouse gases created worldwide has swollen by 35 percent from 1990 to 2010. It is time to stop increasing that amount.

Your predecessor, Jim Sinegal, said in a corporate sustainability report that, “Our pledge is to continue to actively pursue new policies and actions to help us become even more sustainable throughout our entire enterprise.” Keep that pledge and discontinue K-Cups. Your customers will thank you for it.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Roberto Burgos S.

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