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3 reasons Captain Planet must hate K-cups

Keurig Green Mountain may not be so green after all. That's because the popular coffee company - perhaps most famous for its specially designed coffee machines that use a coffee-in-a-pod system - is at the center of a controversial debate surrounding its K-cups.

Just how popular are they? According to The Atlantic, coffee pod machine sales have increased sixfold since 2008 and Keurig Green Mountain made $4.7 billion in revenue last year alone. A recent Opinion Outpost poll showed that out of over 1,700 respondents, one-third of individuals reported they used K-cups. That may sound good for the company, but here are three reasons why it could be a disaster for the planet.

1. K-cups are not recyclable or biodegradable
First and foremost, those little plastic and tinfoil K-cup containers were nonrecyclable, nonbiodegradable and nonreusable as of a report by The New York Times in 2010. Nearly five years later, not much has changed. The Atlantic noted that the K-cups are still not recyclable or biodegradable. The company's plans to expand this year using a partnership with Coca-Cola may also suggest that it would rather seek expansion opportunities than address environmental concerns that were raised years ago.

To some, that's an odd move for a company with a motto like "Brewing a Better World."

Then again, the problem wouldn't be so unnerving if it weren't for its scope and scale. The Atlantic described that possibly billions of K-cups were buried in 2014, and some estimate that the amount of K-cups buried could circle the Earth around 12 times. That's just one year's worth of coffee pods, which signals that these little one-use devices could be adding up to a big problem.

2. They thrive off of addictive users
It's easy to see why they're so popular, though. Coffee is often a necessity for morning workers that need the extra boost in energy for the long day ahead. In fact, some would say the company is dependent on the devices much like how smokers are dependent on cigarettes. The likeness certainly didn't escape the K-cups inventor John Sylvan.

"It's like a cigarette for coffee, a single-serve delivery mechanism for an addictive substance," he told The Atlantic.

For most nonchalant coffee drinkers, this addiction doesn't seem all that bad. Coffee doesn't carry the same pressing health concerns as cigarettes. However, when you introduce an environmental issue and compound that with the seemingly flagrant disregard the corporation enjoys, it shows how willingly some businesses hijack addictive responses for profit and how little they care about the effects.

3. Even the creator of the K-cup regrets his invention
There is at least one person close to Keurig that has openly voiced concern, and that's inventor John Sylvan. Although he left the company in 1997, Sylvan has been vocal about how he doesn't own or necessarily condone the use of his device he created years ago.

"I feel bad sometimes that I ever [invented the K-Cup]," he said, according to Yahoo News.

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