These Coffee Pods Are The Wave Of The Future

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By Cooking Panda

Coffee pods are the newest way to enjoy a single cup of coffee. They put brewed coffee into our hands much faster and simpler than the more traditional methods, like brewing a whole pot or using a French press. But, what about all of that waste?

According to Wellness Mama, the K-cup’s creator, John Sylvan, actually regrets creating them. He said that they were intended only for office use. Today, an estimated 30 percent of people own Keurigs or other coffee pod devices at home, which means they’re being used on a much larger scale. So what’s the problem? Why would someone regret creating a 5 billion dollar industry?

The problem is the massive amount of plastic waste produced by coffee pods each year. It turns out, the pods are not biodegradable, and are difficult to recycle. Stine Wilhelmsen of Hubbub, an environmental charity, told Metro News that the reason the coffee pods are so hard to recycle is “due to the specific material mix used — mixed plastics (PE and PP) and Aluminum — as well as the contamination caused by the coffee grounds. As most pods comprise of 6g of coffee per 3g of material, it is clear that the rise of coffee pods has serious environmental implications.”

Apparently, enough K-cups were sold last year that if they were placed end-to-end, they’d circle the world over 10 times. Even worse is that more and more people are using these coffee pods, so that number will continue to rise as well.

With all of this bad news, there also come solutions. Many coffee companies are reacting to all of this by developing biodegradable and compostable coffee pods. Whew! Some coffee companies, like Dualit, are already using the newer, more environmentally friendly pods. Others are working diligently to make them available. Cru Kafe is reportedly working on 100 percent compostable pods; Lavazza says it’s researching the idea currently.

Coffee brand Halo is one of those already offering the new pod. Co-founder Nils Leonard says, “The challenge to anyone with an environmentally positive idea is just to start… And for all of us, to start making a difference in any way we can, with our everyday actions, big or small.”

It’s so great to know that coffee companies are reacting to this very important issue!

Sources: Metro News, Wellness Mama / Photo Credit: Keurig/Instagram

Tags: coffee, Coffee Pods, Cru Kafe, Dualit, environmental concerns, Halo, Keurig, Lavazza
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If Europe Wants To Reach Its Climate Goals, It Has To Cut Meat Consumption By Half

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By Cooking Panda

The European Union has come to a harsh realization: It’s time to cut back on meat consumption. And they don’t just have to cut back, they have to half their beef and lamb consumption, in order to meet environmentally friendly climate goals.

All of the land that must be used to raise animals for food is land that could be used planting trees and other crops to replenish the environment. As it stands, animal waste accounts for much of the methane and nitrous oxide in the environment. The Food Policy study reports that in order to decrease greenhouse gas emissions by the 80% set goal, cutting meat consumption in half is “unavoidable.”

The plan was originally to look at the effect food waste has on our environmental woes, but halving that would account for only 1-3% of our problems, while changes in meat consumption would have a much larger effect. According to Food Navigator, livestock products (and even fish) are the most greenhouse gas intensive products accounting for about 75% of all food-related emissions. Looks like a major cut here would help the EU reach its optimistic 80% goal.

For all of  you meat eaters out  there, there is a bright side! Pork and poultry is still okay. The harmful emissions from these are reportedly about 10-20 times less than those of of beef and lamb.

So, let’s follow the EU’s example and work to help the environment by eating more chicken and pork barbeque! 

Sources: Food Navigator, Food Policy Study / Photo credit: Ezekiel Denny/Instagram

Tags: Beef, environmental concerns, European Union, Lamb, Mutton
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Report States GMO Crops Not Harmful To Humans

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By Cooking Panda

A new report released published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has stated that GMOs are not actually harmful to humans.

After analyzing over 1,000 studies, a 20-person research committee determined that genetically-modified food is not any more harmful to human health than conventionally grown crops, and is not proven to increase the possibility of suffering from cancer, allergies, obesity, or other ailments.

“We took our job very seriously, because we know how contentious this issue is,” said North Carolina State University professor of entomology and chairman of the research committee, Fred Gould, as noted by The Chicago Tribune.

Over the past several months, there has been much debate about the need to require that food labels state whether they include GMO ingredients. While consumers and food advocates believe the public has a right to know the ingredients they are consuming, food companies believe such labels would be misleading because GMO ingredients do not carry any known medical consequences.

“USDA stands ready to work with Congress to develop a cohesive national system for giving shoppers the information they want to know about foods they are purchasing, without driving up costs or sending the wrong message about the safety of their food options,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.

However, genetically-engineered crops may be harmful in a different way. As these plants are typically modified to be strong enough to resist herbicides and pests, this could also lead to herbicide-resistant plants and pests, which could result in “a major agricultural problem,” according to the study.

Furthermore, critics have stated that the research committee did not examine the effects of herbicides on the health of humans. Although the report may demonstrate the lack of medical issues associated with GMOs, additional analyses are needed to determine the personal and environmental effects of herbicides.

“I consider their failure to look seriously at potential health hazards of increased herbicide use to be a serious omission,” said Dr. Philip Landrigan, dean for global health at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.

Nevertheless, the research committee is hoping that this report does not impede discussion around the topic of genetically-modified foods and labeling laws.

“We’re hoping that our report is not this big tome, but something that starts a conversation,” Gould said to TIME magazine.

Sources: Chicago Tribune, TIME / Photo credit: Jamain/Wikimedia Commons

Tags: agricultural concerns, environmental concerns, GMO, human health, side effects
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