- After Keurig pulled its advertising from Sean Hannity’s Fox News show, some viewers posted videos on Twitter of themselves destroying their Keurig coffee makers on Sunday night.
- #BoycottKeurig is trending and is likely to continue to circulate into Monday.
- Keurig has had social-media boycotts before because of its K-cups, which generate a lot of waste that is not compostable.
Last week, Keurig decided to pull its ads from Sean Hannity’s Fox News show amid mounting pressure surrounding Hannity’s recent interview with Roy Moore, the US Senate candidate in Alabama who last week was accused of engaging in sexual misconduct with a 14-year-old girl and of pursuing relationships with several teenagers almost 40 years ago when he was in his 30s.
Supporters of Hannity protested on Sunday by posting videos of themselves smashing their Keurig coffee makers and circulating the Twitter hashtag #BoycottKeurig.
The company is no stranger to social-media protests, but in the past these have been related mostly to environmental concerns. The hashtag #killthekcup started circulating on Twitter in 2011, and it has reemerged with the Hannity controversy. In 2015, a satirical video depicting monsters made of K-Cups destroying a city gained nearly 1 million views.
Keurig sold more than 9 billion of its single-serve plastic coffee pods, called K-Cups, in 2015. As The New York Times noted last year, placed next to each other, that’s enough pods to circle the planet 10 times over. None of these K-Cups can be easily recycled.
Keurig sales have continued to fall since 2014, and mounting concerns among environmentalists in the past decade could be one factor. (As BuzzFeed’s Vanessa Wong noted last year, consumers did not respond well to Keurig 2.0, a machine that debuted in 2014 and works only with K-Cups.)
In late 2016, Keurig debuted recyclable pods composed of polypropylene, which is found in most plastic bottles. By 2018, the company aims to convert 100% of its Canadian K-Cup supply to the new pods.
But the recyclable K-Cups haven’t silenced worries from environmentalists. The new cups still aren’t compostable or reusable. That means Keurig will still be selling billions of pieces of plastic every year. And even if something is recyclable, that doesn’t mean it will actually be recycled.
The company has tried to create a more environmentally friendly K-Cup, Monique Oxender, Keurig’s chief sustainability officer, told The Times. But this has proved difficult. A reusable or compostable pod would need to have the same circular shape as current pods so it could work with the old machines. Creating a new pod that has a strong oxygen barrier, is rigid, and is easy to puncture has also been challenging.
On its site, Keurig has also vowed to reduce its other environmental impacts, including greenhouse-gas emissions and water use.