Single-cup coffee makers are popular right now. While some of them allow you to use any coffee, several of these single-cup coffee makers require you to purchase single-serving containers of coffee which cannot be reused. Each plastic container must be thrown away after use, and they are not easily recyclable.

This seems so wasteful to me. But you know what, I’ve had coffee from these single-cup makers at friends’ houses before, and they usually make a great cup of coffee. I understand why coffee lovers favor them.

If you’re one of those who use a single-cup coffee maker, there isn’t much you can do to green the waste that comes from the single-serving containers, but you can make sure that the coffee inside of them is as green as possible. If you’re going to use single-serve, use organic or fair trade coffee in them. It’s a better choice.

Keurig – Keurig single-serve use K-cups. Try Fair Trade Organic PBS Blend or Van Houtte Café Mexico, Fair Trade & Organic Dark Roast. For a complete list of fair trade and/or organic K-cups, click here.

Tassimo – I’m sure someone will correct me if I’m wrong here, but I can’t find any organic or fair trade single-serving coffee for Tassimo machines. Not even in their Starbucks offerings. Am I missing something?

Senseo and other pod single-serve machines - Senseo and some other brands use single-serve pods. These pods are actually filters. Out of all the single-serve options, they seem the greenest because there is not as much waste after use. There are many brands of organic and/or fair trade coffees for pod machines.

Try 100% Organic Arabica pods from PODhead or Decaf Fair Trade pods from Baronet.

If you don’t have a single-serve coffee maker, you might want to think twice about getting one if you’re in the market for a new coffee maker. But if you already have one, and don’t plan on giving it up any time soon, try choosing organic and/or fair trade coffee to make less of an environmental impact when you’re having your fix. 

Image: Simon Goldenberg

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Making the single-serve coffee a little greener
Single-serve coffee makers aren't inherently green, but you can make them greener.