Last year, Keurig founder John Sylvan said he was ambivalent about his blockbuster invention, the single-serve coffee pod. Sure, he had sold his share of the company in 1997 for $50,000, and his invention accounted for most of the $4.5 billion in sales that Keurig Green Mountain made last year—so that was, perhaps, a mistake.
But Sylvan told The Atlantic he occasionally regrets having invented the Keurig in the first place. “I feel bad sometimes that I ever did it,” he said.
According to estimates, the number of Keurig K-Cups buried in landfills in 2014 could circle the world more than 12 times. No wonder, because the single-serve coffee habit is hard to break. Keurig coffee is easy, quick, and mess-free. But the plastic pods are particularly difficult to recycle because of their mixed elements: layered plastic, a filter, coffee grounds, and a foil top.
Enter the G-Kup. It’s like the K-Cup, but compostable. Its makers say it will be available sometime early this year.
The Canadian invention is the work of CEO Darren Footz, who partnered with researchers at the University of British Columbia to create a 100 percent compostable cup out of bamboo fiber and sugar cane. Footz has invested a reported $6.9 million on the development of the G-Kup.
“Consumers said, ‘I love the K-Cup but feel guilty about using it, I wish there was another way,’” Footz told the Financial Post in November 2015. “[I]t was a eureka moment.”
Keurig Green Mountain is also working on a recyclable version of its K-Cup. According to the company’s sustainability plan, 100 percent of K-Cups will be recyclable by 2020.
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