Spare a thought for the coffee pod the next time you wander down to your local café or drop into a friend's place for a coffee.
That's right, that little caffeine filled-pod that so many of you, including George Clooney, fight over so desperately in the morning to kick-start your day.
It is polluting the world in dire numbers and has been the subject of an ongoing courtroom dispute between The Ethical Coffee Company and Nespresso for the past five years.
"I had no idea about the magnitude of the problem being created by aluminium and plastic coffee pods until I discovered this story and it turns out that the issue is bigger than Ben Hur," Michael Scott, managing director of the ecoCaffe Company, here in Australia.
The ecoCaffe Company is Australia's exclusive distributor of the 100 per cent biodegradable espresso capsules from Switzerland's Ethical Coffee Company, which are compatible with Nespresso machines.
"There are approximately 30 billion plastic pods being consumed each year around the world and most of these are ending up in landfill where they will take 200 to 500 years to biodegrade," Scott says.
Plastic capsules can take more than 500 years to degrade while aluminium capsules can take between 150 and 200 years.
"Australians are consuming approximately 3 billion capsules that will not biodegrade within their lifetimes," Scott says.
IBISWorld estimates that revenue from cafes and coffee shops in Australia reached $4.3 billion in 2014-15 while according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics research conducted a few years ago, 46 per cent of all Australians consume coffee – including children as young as two – with 66 per cent of adults between 51 and 70 years having at least one coffee a day.
Roy Morgan research conducted in 2013 states that 56 per cent of Australians visit a café at least once a week for a coffee, while the percentage of people who own coffee makers is at an all-time high of 36 per cent.
Originally Published by the Sydney Morning Herald