Keurig boycott has the right idea with the wrong purpose

This past week, people across the nation have been boycotting the popular beverage brewing company, Keurig. This protest started in response to the company’s decision to remove their television advertisement that was supposed to be played during Sean Hannity’s show on Fox News. This decision was made following comments coming from Hannity that seemed to defend Roy Moore, an Alabama Republican Senate candidate who has recently been accused of sexual assault. In response to the removal of this commercial and Keurig’s lack of support for Fox News, many Conservatives are taking a personal jab at Keurig by destroying their machines, either prior owned or bought new.

Now if you’re like me, hearing this story for the first time seemed completely and utterly ridiculous. By destroying the coffee makers, whether they are bought new or pre-owned, people are wasting their own money which does nothing to harm Keurig as a company. If you were trying to make a statement against Keurig, it might be best to take action in a way that doesn’t seem quite so juvenile. But even beyond that, by destroying these machines in support of Roy Moore, people are making a statement that could be taken not only as a protest but as a movement in the race against climate change (which also happens to be something that Roy Moore doesn’t believe in). Because, as despicable as not advertising on Fox News might be to some, there are much greater issues to boycott with regards to Keurigs.

Keuring, the popular hot beverage brewing system, have become a hot commodity over the past years, largely due to their convenience and ease of use. On top of this, they have also managed to maintain their consistent popularity due to being seemingly trendy or an easier way to brew coffee, (as if it was difficult before). However, there are still some drawbacks that stop some consumers from purchasing one of the coffee makers.

One of these turn-offs is the cost. While the price of the actual brewing system is not extremely overpriced compared to the cost of a normal coffee maker, having to buy refills of K-cups, the individual coffee filters and tea bags, causes the cost to rise exponentially. Because of this necessity to continuously pay for overpriced beverages, the Keurig loses some potential customers to cheaper alternatives that just might not be quite so “in style.”

However, there is a totally different reason that Keurigs should be avoided at all costs- their environmental impact. The majority of the K-cups that people put through their Keurigs are not recyclable and not reusable. Thus, the ever-growing market for the beverage-maker is also causing the amount of non-reusable plastic to increase in landfills across America. Since the Keurig first raised through the ranks of top kitchen appliances a few years ago, their sales have risen as well. In 2014, over nine billion K-cups were sold. And of these nine billion, 100 percent of them ended up in landfills due to their lack of biodegradable material and inability to be recycled.

As Keurig continues to do better and improve their sales every year, the number of K-cups sold will also consistently rise. Unfortunately, this in turn means that as K-cup sales rise, the numbers of them sitting in landfills will also do the same. Unfortunately, the longer these pods sit in landfills, improperly disposed of, the worse of an effect this company will have on climate change.

On the bright side, Keurig is working to combat this issue by making recyclable K-cups; but, so far the varieties are limited and are still somewhat difficult to dispose of in a green manner. This of course poses a difficult question for consumers: Should we do our best to fight against climate change while we can, or should we buy what we want no matter the consequences? Unfortunately, for most people the latter option is preferred, causing a dangerous effect that is much more serious than the removal of an advertisement from a popular channel.

While there are clearly reasons to be boycotting Keurig coffee makers, their business decision to remove advertisements from Fox News is not the one people should be focusing on. Whether you judge Sean Hannity’s comments to be absurd or perfectly acceptable, there is a bigger picture here that needs attention desperately. Our environment is failing, and Keurigs only add to the destruction. It seems that the most important issue to people regarding Keurig is their business practices and political opinions. However, when it comes down to it, none of that is important if our planet is not healthy enough to sustain the lives we are arguing about.


Emma Hungaski is the associate opinion editor  for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at emma.hungaski@uconn.edu.