I’ve long wondered how much plastic is in a k-cup but have been unable to find an answer on the internet. So I decided to conduct a simple experiment where I would weigh k-cups on a food scale and compare their weight to the weight of other, common, single-use, plastic products. After all, my main interest in the amount of plastic in a k-cup is in calculating how guilty I should feel for producing plastic waste each time I use a Keurig. Might as well know how that waste stacks up against other ways in which I often produce plastic waste.
I weighed twenty k-cups. Some were Dunkin’ Donuts brand, some Café Bustelo and some Ekocups. Their combined weight was fifty-one grams. 51/20=2.55. So one k-cup is composed of approximately 2.55 grams of plastic.
plastic grocery bag
I weighed four Publix plastic grocery bags. Their combined weight was twenty grams. 20/4=5. So one plastic grocery bag is composed of approximately 5 grams of plastic.
I weighed one Rubbermaid Take Alongs microwaveable container with a storage capacity of 669 milliliters. It weighed fifty grams. So one single-serving-sized microwaveable container is approximately 50 grams of plastic.
So a k-cup is 2.55 grams of plastic, a grocery bag is 5 grams of plastic, and a smallish microwaveable container is 50 grams of plastic. Comparatively, a plastic grocery bag is more or less equal to two k-cups, and a single-serving-sized microwaveable container is roughly equal to twenty k-cups (or ten days of a two k-cups per day coffee habit). I realize microwaveable containers are not single-use like k-cups and grocery bags; but, since more and more takeout restaurants are providing patrons food in similar containers, I figure it’s relevant.
I hope this article helps you in quantifying your guilt when using disposable plastic products.