By Anne VanderMey
March 31, 2015

John Sylvan, who invented the K-Cup, now says he regrets it because of the coffee pods’ outsize environmental toll. He has a point: 9.8 billion cups sold last year. That works out to roughly 140,434 tons of waste, but still a rounding error compared with our other habits. Every year the U.S. packs landfills with 34.7 million tons of food waste, 8.8 million tons of clothing, and 11.5 million tons of furniture. Every cup counts, but every sofa counts more.

This story is from the April 1, 2015 issue of Fortune.


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