K-Cups (the most recognizable brand, made by Keurig) and their ilk are big business these days: Americans spent $3.8 billion on them last year, up from $234 million in 2009, and 15 percent of U.S. households now own a single-serving system. The appeal is in the convenience — pop a pod into your specialty coffeemaker, it brews a custom mugful just for you, then you toss the pod in the garbage – but the devil is in the details. In 2013, Keurig sold enough K-Cups to circle the planet 10.5 times (8.3 billion), and sales heated up to 9.8 billion last year. The cups, made from usually non-recyclable #7 plastic, almost always end up in a landfill. That giant lizard thing isn’t sounding quite so farfetched anymore.
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