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Is there a serious problem with coffee capsules?

Coffee capsules in front of a coffee cup

The German city of Hamburg has banned coffee pods from state-run buildings as part of an environmental drive to reduce waste. Should others follow suit, asks Chris Stokel-Walker.

First there was the coffee bean, then the instant coffee jar, and then expensive coffee shop drinks on the go.

In the past decade or more coffee drinkers worldwide have adopted a new method of getting their daily jolt of caffeine – the coffee capsule machine, in which small plastic or aluminium pods capped with foil or filter paper containing coffee grounds are put into a machine that fills a cup quickly with palatable coffee.

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