Small changes at work ....
How many advanced degrees does it take to disassemble a Keurig?!
I started a new job at a new clinic a few months ago, so I was hesitant to open my mouth about the coffee machine ... at first.
Our office has a Keurig K-cup office model, and while I like the idea of a fresh, individual cup of coffee, it felt like A LOT of plastic waste. I walked in one day and there was a note on the machine that advised us NOT to use the last remaining pods until we got a new shipment of those little coffee pods. What?? My brain reeled -- these don't even come from Costco?! I confirmed that we were using some office account to order and ship these little pods across our ocean for our single use coffee maker!
After a little digging, additional feelings of waste confirmed: apparently those little pods are filled with layers upon layers of difficult to recycle #7 plastic.
I'm not going to go into the internet meme about Keurig cups circling the earth, and some other fight between Keurig and Sean Hannity. I think we can all agree that shipping tiny cups of coffee inside plastic across the Pacific, then burning the waste, is not sustainable.
[The flip side of the debate is that the coffee pot doesn't stay on all day using electricity by warming a pot of coffee that no one is going to drink (this would never happen in our house!). Also, coffee beans are a water intense crop. Apparently instant coffee might be the most sustainable coffee!]
Anyhow, it was the day after the IPCC report and I directed my woes at two poor colleagues at the coffee machine. I was pleasantly surprised at their willingness to tackle the problem!
First, we dug around in the cabinet and found a reusable Keurig cup that someone had already ordered. A lesson here -- someone else was also wary of our waste, and tried to do something! But alas -- the reusable cup did not fit and at this point they probably gave up! We even watched a video to try to figure it out how to pop the thing in. After some more internet sleuthing we discovered that this Keurig reusable pod we found fit all machines except the office version! Very evil and clever Keurig, but we discovered a workaround:
After a quick Amazon search...
We found a perfect little, reusable pod for $12 that fit our Keurig. Yes, it would have to be shipped across the Pacific, but then we could fill it with sustainable coffee grown RIGHT HEREin our islands! Kona coffee!
I ordered it, and a week later ... it arrived:
And it totally worked:
More amazingly, my colleagues brought in bags of coffee from home, and people are actually using it!
It took about 20 minutes of messing around with the machine that first day, and then a week of waiting for the pod, but it was worth it.
My lesson was that it people DO really want to help, and WILL get involved to make small changes. Small changes, friends! This is all about culture change.