Life-cycle assessment of coffee pods – one less thing to feel guilty about

Do you feel guilty about using your Nespresso machine? Life-cycle assessment of coffee pods shows they actually have less environmental impact than most other methods of making coffee.

They are actually better for the environment than other options, based on a rigorous life-cycle assessment of their total environmental impact. The popular belief that coffee pods are bad for the planet is really a misconception.

Taking into account the total life-cycle impact of bringing the coffee to the cup including waste, energy and recycling, other options such as drip machines or filters have a significantly worse impact. The (literally) unpalatable truth seems to be that instant coffee is the most environmentally friendly option, with capsule machines in second place.

As usual, it’s important to go beyond the obvious and superficial answers to really understand how to reduce our impact. Everything is complex and interconnected. The real answer may be counterintuitive.

So you don’t need to feel guilty about your Nespresso machine, but if you are now feeling guilty about your filters (unbelached or otherwise), or your drip machine, positive solutions are available.