" "

Are Keurig Coffee Pods Recyclable? How to Recycle K-Cups • Steamy Kitchen Recipes Giveaways

Must Try

Maybe you have a Keurig machine, use one at work, or are considering buying one, but you have one main concern: how much waste do single-serve coffee pods add to the world? And what’s the best way to dispose of them? These are great questions, and ones that you’re awesome for asking. So, worry not, environmentally-savvy coffee lovers. We’re here to answer the ultimate burning question today: are Keurig pods recyclable? 
The answer? Yes, they are, but with a few side notes. Let’s get into it, shall we?
Keurig Pods and Recycling
Good news! Keurig pods are indeed recyclable, but with a few asterisks. Most coffee pods follow a similar design: plastic, paper filter, aluminum lid. While all of these materials can are recyclable, it’s not quite as simple as just tossing them into the recycling bin and calling it a day.
Breaking Down the Keurig Pods

Plastic Cup: Keurig pods are made of #5 (polypropylene) plastic, which Keurig chose because it is an easily recyclable material in a large majority of communities. But, not all Material Recycling Facilities accept these cups, so it’s good to check in with your local facility to make sure they can handle them before you pop them in the recycle bin.
Coffee Grinds: Coffee grinds are organic and can be composted. Got a backyard compost bin? Give your garden a caffeine boost! If you don’t have a compost bin, you can discard them into the trash.
Paper Cup: Keurig’s recyclable pods have a paper filter cup that is also biodegradable, so you can choose to compost or recycle it!
Aluminum Lid: The aluminum top can be recycled, but be sure to separate it from the pod. It cannot be recycled while it’s soiled, so also be sure to clean off any coffee grounds before you add it to your recycling bin.

A Simple Way to Recycle K-Cups
Here’s how to recycle your Keurig pods:

Peel: Remove the aluminum lid from the top of the pod.
Empty: Scoop out the coffee grinds and either compost them or throw them into the trash.
Recycle: Toss the plastic cup into the recycling bin (but only if your local service accepts it).

Alternatives for the Eco-Conscious Coffee Lover
Just because something is recyclable doesn’t mean it’s good for the environment. While Keurig Green Mountain and similar brands have made a lot of changes to create more sustainable product options, the truth is that single-use coffee pods do contribute to a large amount of waste.
To combat this, there are other sustainable options available:

Reusable Coffee Pods: Yes, Keurig does make reusable K-Cups that can be filled with your own coffee grounds, which means you can drastically cut down on waste! 
Compostable Coffee Pods: Get yourself some pods that are made entirely of compostable materials. While not suitable for a backyard compost bin, they can be commercially composted, and they’re more eco-friendly.
The Pour-Over Method / French Press: If the thought of potentially contributing to more waste in the world plagues your brain, you can simplify your coffee-making process by BEING the coffee maker and using the pour-over method. Just manually pour hot water over your choice of coffee grounds, no machine needed. Alternatively, French presses are great for submerging your coffee beans or coarsely ground coffee (and any other additions) in hot water and then filtering out just the water after its infusion. 
The K-Cycle® Recycling & Composting Program: In order to keep K-Cups out of landfills, Keurig has created a recycling program that gives them second life! If you sign up for this service, Keurig will send you a recycling bin just for your K-Cups! Once you fill it up and send it back, Keurig will recycle those cups into new K-Cups, cutting down significantly on new materials, and drastically reducing your environmental footprint.

So, to answer your question, while Keurig pods can be recycled, it does requires a little effort and knowledge in order to do so, and it’s not completely waste-free, BUT there are more sustainable options available to your so you can keep the eco-guilt at bay!

Are all Keurig K-Cups recyclable?
Technically, they are. Keurig K-Cups are made with plastic, aluminum, and organic materials, which are all recyclable materials. But, the key is to separate these components before putting them in the blue bin and to make sure you’re local community is able to process coffee pods, as they are too small for the screening process for some facilities.
What are some of the best options for reducing coffee pod waste?
Check out Keurig’s reusable coffee pods, which you can fill with your own ground coffee. You can also seek out compostable coffee pods, which can be composted through a commercial composting service.
How do I prepare a Keurig pod for recycling?
It’s super easy! Just peel off the foil lid, empty out any remaining coffee grounds (compost them if you can), and then rinse out the plastic cup.
Can I recycle the foil lid of a Keurig pod?
Yes, the aluminum foil lid is recyclable. Just make sure to peel it off completely and rinse any remaining coffee residue off of it before placing it in your recycling bin.
Are there any reusable pod models?
Yep! Keurig also makes reusable pods from stainless steel and other durable materials that can be filled with your favorite ground coffee and used multiple times. This is a super convenient and eco-friendly alternative to single-use pods.
What are some creative ways to give old K-Cups a second life?
Get crafty! Clean out your plastic pods and use them as seed starters for your garden! You can also use them as small storage containers, or get REALLY creative and make them into Christmas ornaments. The possibilities are literally endless.

Brew Responsibly
So yes, you CAN enjoy your cup of coffee while lowering your carbon footprint by embracing recyclable coffee pods and exploring creative ways to repurpose your old K-Cups to maintain a healthier planet. What are some of your favorite ways to enjoy your coffee while lessening your environmental impact? Do you have a creative way of recycling coffee pods? We’d love to hear all about it in the comments!

Latest Recipes

More Recipes Like This