Monday, February 3, 2014

Compromise, or cake?

One of the aims of this blog is to show other families that it is possible to live a more environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable life, and yet not have to sacrifice every comfort and convenience. As much as I sometimes think I would love to live in a backwoods off-the-grid cabin, the reality is I love my toilet paper, my Kitchenaid stand mixer, and my internet.

Being sustainable does not always mean making one, drastic change in lifestyle. Often it is the smaller, everyday things you do that add up to the bigger difference.

And I will be the first to admit it, I can be lazy. I want to be as sustainable as possible, yet I also want to keep the conveniences I've become accustomed to.

I want my cake, and eat it too!

One such example is our Keurig. Now I know, that in itself is probably the furthest thing from sustainable I could have mentioned (short of saying I have three Hummers and a racing boat in my driveway).
Behind are the 16 cups that would have ended up
in a landfill. Instead, the components have been
separated and are ready for recycling and

Chris happens to be the only coffee drinker in the house. With the Keurig he can make himself a coffee whenever he wants and not have to brew a whole pot. This saves energy (either the gas of the stove or the electricity to run a coffee machine) and water; the only amount heated is the exact amount for his cup.

But what to do with all that waste? It is true that the used coffee cups are supposed to go into the garbage. That is ridiculous, when what you are left with is a giant mountain of plastic, metal, and organic matter in a just a few weeks.

To offset this we began to remove the lids and separate the different parts of the K-cups. The metal foil lids can either be recycled or thrown out, depending on your municipality. The paper coffee filters we put in our green bin, and the coffee grinds themselves are composted and used as fertilizer for our houseplants.

That just leaves the plastic cups themselves. I have discovered they have a myriad of uses: from crafting supplies, to seed starting cups, to toys (the boys like to stack them into castles); and once you are done reusing them they can be thrown in the recycling bin.

Now that may seem like too much work to be bothered with. But I've found that if you separate the k-cups as soon as your (or your husband's) coffee is done brewing it only takes a moment and is in my humble opinion completely worth the time. Not only are you avoiding unnecessary waste going to our landfills, but are reusing the items again, all while enjoying the luxury of a single cup brewer.

So go ahead, enjoy that slice of cake!

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