Governments must ban plastic single serve coffee pods now

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People and communities around the world are fighting throwaway plastics – and winning. Citizen action has grabbed the attention of governments and the businesses that use those plastics. We are already seeing high-profile progress to cut the use of plastic straws and plastic takeout drink cups.

It’s time to take the next step and ban plastic single serve coffee pods. It’s clear that single serve coffee is here to stay. No government or business is going to ban something that millions and millions of people use every day. No amount of telling people they should make their coffee some other way is going to change a big consumer shift.

But none of those pods have to be plastic.

They don’t have to be just one more petroleum-based part of growing landfills. They don’t have to be even one piece of the estimated 8 million tonnes of plastics that end up in the world’s oceans each year. Plastic is a choice for coffee companies – and business make smarter choices when governments point the way.

There are pods that people can easily fill and use over and over. There are pods that break down in composting systems.

Companies that make plastic coffee pods say they are switching to recyclable plastics – but will this really work? Are consumers who want to make their coffee in a few seconds going to take a pod apart to dump the coffee, throw away the lid and clean out the plastic part? Many recyclers don’t believe that at all. They are pushing back because they don’t want full coffee pods.

Governments need to recognize that banning plastic pods opens the door to better ideas for our environment. They need to recognize that we can do better than plastic pods designed to be used once – maybe for just a few seconds – and then thrown away – where they can last in the environment for many years.

It’s time for governments to ban plastic single serve coffee pods.