Celebrations to be had in this little pocket of the world.
The city of Hamburg (Germany) has banned the following list of nonsustainable items from their government-run buildings stating that taxpayer money will not be spent on products that don’t meet it’s high sustainability standards
- Coffee capsuals or pods
- plastic cutlery and plates
- beer, soft drinks and water in disposable packaging (today I read a stat… the average person will save $900 a year by not buying bottled water! )
…And something else very dear to my heart …certain cleaning products and even wall paints. Keep tuned while we bring you more about the issues associated with cleaning products and wall paints but in the meantime – it’s sad to say that Amy’s story below is still relevant.
Original Story by Amy Lewis posted: 28 May 2013
Examining the true cost of cheap appliances and proprietary consumables.
Do you remember a time, years ago, when appliances like printers and coffee machines cost money – proper money – and replacing the ink (or ribbon – remember those?) was relatively cheap.
Somewhere along the way, manufacturers realised they could make more money out of us by practically giving the printer away, and making the consumables wildly expensive and non-interchangeable with other models. In fact, ink cartridges often cost more than the machine you bought in the first place. Not to mention that they are now reducing the volume of ink in the cartridges, forcing you to buy them even more frequently. Clever printer companies!
I first saw a coffee pod machine while travelling in Europe in 2004 – although pod coffee machines have their roots in the 1980s – and even then was dubious about them for a few reasons:
- The coffee was more expensive to buy per kilogram and restricted to a few brands.
- If the manufacturer went out of business, I’d be stuck with a useless appliance.
- The pods created a huge amount of waste.
- The machines themselves were quite expensive.
Fast forward to 2013 and the popularity of coffee pod machines is quite perplexing, with a large range of different pod types now available. “Industry figures estimate that Australians spend $150 million on coffee pods annually.”
The coffee companies have cottoned on to the business model of the printer, and today the appliances are quite inexpensive. The focus has shifted to selling the expensive consumable pods, which are generally not interchangeable with other systems. The manufacturer may even void your warranty if you use a non-branded pod.
The unquestionable benefit of these machines is the convenience they offer: consistent – if somewhat mediocre – coffee, produced quickly and with no mess. But let’s consider the cost…
- $115 per kg for a top of the range Branded pods vs. $30 per kg for an organic fair trade coffee (approximately).
- Over 700 pods in landfill per person per year (based on two cups per day).
- Mediocre coffee.
If you must pod your coffee, there are a few refillable pods now available. These are a great alternative, but seem to be more work than a standard espresso machine, plunger or even dripolator. Or if fancy gadgets are your thing, perhaps check out an AeroPress.
So before the shiny marketing sucks you into a cheap coffee machine (or printer that matter), think hard about the spend – ecologically or dollars-alogically – you’re really signing up for.
Tip: Op shops are teeming with working dripolators for as little as $5. Drink your coffee 80s style!
- Is there a serious problem with coffee capsules?
- This German city just banned coffee pods
- German city bans coffee pods to be more environmentally friendly
- Choice report on coffee capsules
- The rise of the coffee pod machines
- Just What You Don’t Want For Christmas: A Single Serve Pod Coffee Maker
Author : Amy Lewis: ecoChici • eco gift wrap
Original Story posted: 28 May 2013
Image: Coffee Pods: Eoin Barnett
Amy Lewis is the founder of eco wrapping solution ecoChici and design agency Amy Lewis Design. She is passionate about living as ethically as is practical to do so, loves innovative and sustainable design solutions, hates plastic and struggles to write short bios.
 Woolworths blog launching their new coffee machine.