The little Keurig coffee pods have become something of an ubiquity in American offices and homes over the last six or seven years, due primarily (ok, exclusively) to convenience. You’ve seen how they work — the pod goes into the sleek-looking machine, the foil on top is punctured, hot water goes through, and you’re left with a cup of pretty mediocre swill and a substantial amount of plastic waste that goes directly into the trash.
The reason Keurig Green Mountain has been so profitable in its lifetime is that it’s based on an inkjet-printer profit model: the consumer purchases a printer that costs $70 or $80, then proceeds to spend many times that on expensive ink cartridges. The cartridges are typically designed to be usable exclusively by that one specific printer model. The consumer is caught in a bit of a bind because, what alternative is there? Not buying ink and having an unusable printer? READ MORE