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Seemingly overnight, new types of plastic are popping up in stores everywhere, labeled with adjectives and prefixes that signal their environmental-friendly properties: bio-based, biodegradable, compostable…to name just a few. It makes me happy to see mainstream companies putting more thought into their packaging, but I can’t count the number of times I’ve had to research or reach out to the manufacturer to figure out exactly what their packaging is and how to properly dispose them — and that is simply not realistic for the average consumer. Besides, are these materials really better for the environment? I set out to investigate.

First of all, let’s get one important thing out of the…

The days of throwing recycling in your curbside bins and forgetting about it are over.

If you follow any environmental news at all, you have probably heard about China’s recent decision to essentially ban the imports of recycled plastic, paper and metal, while significantly toughening the standards for materials it does accept. Prior to the ban, China had been processing 45% of the world’s plastic; in the US, where a third of recycled materials are exported, nearly half goes to China. …

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My last office was typically millennial: there were 8 of us, and almost 8 coffee-brewing methods. French press, ceramic pour-over, AeroPress, cold brew…and in our kitchen, there was also a Nespresso and a traditional drip coffee machine.

And in my office now: we have a Keurig. Actually, two Keurigs.

THE WORST, right?

So I thought too. Remember when Keurig went from America’s favorite coffee trend to everyone’s favorite eco-villain, seemingly overnight? CNet called the coffee pods “pure evil”; Motherboard dubbed the Keurig “hell devices that everyone should boycott.”


Yue Huang

Grappling with topics in sustainability, big or small, at IG @sensiblesustainability

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