Conservative internet dudes are smashing their Keurig coffee brewers to take a political stand, and reader, they might just be on to something.
It’s definitely not the point they’re trying to make, but it’s a point all the same. Keurig machines and the coffee pods they squirt hot water through are extremely bad — for the planet, for consumers, and evidently for Sean Hannity’s Fox News program, from which the java giant pulled advertising this weekend.
Some quick background on this mess: Hannity’s in the spotlight for playing nice with Roy Moore, a Senate candidate accused of pursuing relationships with teenagers while he was in his 30s. In response to a tweet from Angelo Carusone, the president of Media Matters for America, Keurig said it removed ads from Hannity’s show.
Angelo, thank you for your concern and for bringing this to our attention. We worked with our media partner and FOX news to stop our ad from airing during the Sean Hannity Show.
— Keurig (@Keurig) November 11, 2017
And then the internet exploded in all the usual ways. You have the raving lunatics, egged on by Hannity himself, smashing their coffee machines because they don’t believe a corporation should be able to cut business ties with a show on the basis of moral disagreement:
This decision is disgusting, and will not be tolerated.
Regardless of any response, I am done with you, Keurig.
— Mike (@Fuctupmind) November 12, 2017
And you have people championing a pragmatic business decision from a beverage conglomerate — for crying out loud — as some moral victory in a culture war many don’t even know is happening.
All of this means we’re now talking about Sean Hannity and Keurig machines more than anyone should like, but hey, let’s take the bait, because Keurig, at least, is worth examining on a critical basis. I’ll run through a litany of marks against the company very quickly:
Keurig sells billions of coffee pods annually, but they’re practically impossible to recycle
Those coffee pods are made from plastic in a manufacturing process that is itself harmful to the environment
Keurig introduced the idea of copyrighting its coffee pods with “Keurig 2.0,” meaning your machine could refuse to brew unlicensed coffee
K-Cups are often quite expensive compared to ground coffee
Pre-roasted and ground coffee, like the coffee found in K-Cups, becomes stale quickly and doesn’t taste as good as freshly ground beans
I’m just going to reiterate that recycling even a single K-Cup is an incredible pain in the ass. Recyclable K-Cups from Keurig weren’t even available until last year, and even now only two varieties — regular or decaf light roast — are available. To recycle them, you have to painstakingly peel the foil lid off of each individual pod, dump the coffee grounds out and ideally rinse the plastic clean, and then cross your fingers that the pod will make its way to a recycling center than can process polypropylene. You may need to search for one.
So yes, Keurig brewers are pretty much objectively bad. If there’s a silver lining, it’s that the individually-packaged pods ensure that you won’t ever waste coffee or water, compared to other brewing methods.
And of course, the appeal here is obvious: They’re convenient! (In the interest of full-disclosure, I’ll fess up: My wife and I own a Keurig machine — it was a gift that now inspires guilt on a regular basis. Whenever I have time, I try to hand-grind responsibly sourced coffee beans and brew them in a French press. It’s a rare occasion, I’ll admit, so I try to drink coffee at the office instead of brewing my own in the morning.)
Of course, as Al Gore has reminded us, doing the right thing for the world can be (drumroll) inconvenient. So if you’re enjoying the internet mutants bashing their coffee machines, try to take an extra step to really internalize what that hardware slaughter should mean for your coffee consumption.
And to the internet mutants, while we’re finger-wagging: I do hope you figured out a responsible way to dispose of all that electronic waste.
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