Keurig pods (also known as K Cups) originated in the early 2000s as a single-serve coffee brewing system. The appeal of Keurig pods is that they are easy to use and recycle. However, recycling them can be tricky because they are made of plastic, paper, organics, and aluminum foil, and up until the end of 2020, Keurig pods were not recyclable. However, Keurig is proud to announce that all Keurig coffee pods are 100% recyclable as of this year.
To recycle your Keurig coffee pods there are two options; disassemble the pods and recycle their components via your local recycling facility, or use the new Keurig recycling program.
To use the Keurig recycling program, either; Send them to the designated mail-in center, Return your used Keurig Pods to a participating retailer, or go to the Terracycle website to sign up and print out a shipping label. Once you’ve collected enough pods, attach the shipping label to your box and send it off!
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How many Keurig pods are produced each year?
According to Keurig Green Mountain, over 8 billion coffee pods are used annually. That’s a lot of coffee! And where do those coffee pods end up? Unfortunately, most of them end up in landfills.
Option 1. Recycle K Cups At Your Local Recycling Facility.
Here are some tips for recycling Keurig pods:
- Remove the coffee grinds from the pod before placing it in the recycling bin.
- Rinse the pod with water to remove any coffee residue.
- Place the pod in a recyclable bag or container before putting it in the recycling bin.
- Check with your local recycling facility to see if they accept Keurig pods.
Or if that sounds a bit too much like hard work, we’ve got another solution.
Option 2. Recycle K Cups With The Keurig Recycling Program
The Keurig recycling program is now available in Canada and the United States. If you have a Keurig brewer, chances are you’ve accumulated quite a few K Cups. While the coffee pods are recyclable, they’re not currently widely accepted by municipal recycling programs. The good news is that Keurig has set up a recycling program to help address this issue.
The Keurig recycling program is a voluntary program that allows customers to recycle their used K-Cups through designated mail-in centers. Once the K-Cups are received, Keurig will recycle them into new products.
All Keurig brewers, accessories, and packaging can be recycled through the Keurig Recycling Program. This includes:
- K-Cup pods
- K-Carafes, and
- Keurig brewers
How Does the Keurig Recycling Program Work?
To participate in the Keurig Recycling Program in either Canada or the United States, gather up your used K-Cups and simply:
- Send them to the designated mail-in center. You can find the address of the nearest mail-in center by visiting Keurig’s website.
- Return your used Keurig Pods to a participating retailer
- Go to the Terracycle website to sign up and print out a shipping label. Once you’ve collected enough pods, attach the shipping label to your box and send it off!
There is a small shipping and handling fee for recycling your K-Cups, but Keurig will cover the cost of recycling them.
Is the Entire Keurig Pod Recyclable?
Yes, you can recycle your K Cup pods by composting or disposing of the grounds and then recycling the pod itself. As of November 2021, Keurig has introduced EASY-PEEL lid technology on select items.
This new technology makes it simple and convenient to peel off and discard the foil lid. Then you can compost or dispose of the grounds before recycling the pod. The EASY-PEEL lid is the next major step in making K Cup pod recycling easier for you.
What Happens to the Recycled Pods?
The Keurig Recycling Program partners with Terracycle, a leader in innovative recycling solutions. Through this partnership, Terracycle collects and recycles used coffee pods.
Recycled Keurig pods can be seen (in their next life) as:
- Housing insulation
- Pipe insulation
- Shipping pallets
- Flower pots
New innovative uses are being explored all the time, and what might seem impossible right now may be commonplace in the future.
What Are The Benefits Of Recycling K Cups?
There are several benefits to recycling your used K Cups through the Keurig Recycling Program.
- Reduces waste in landfills: By recycling Keurig pods, we can reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills. This is because Keurig pods are made up of a variety of materials like plastic, paper, organics, and aluminum foil. These materials take a long time to decompose and can release harmful chemicals into the environment. By recycling these materials, we can reduce the strain on landfills and help protect the environment.
- Reduces the need for new raw materials: Recycling Keurig pods also helps reduce the need for new raw materials to produce new K-Cups. By reusing materials that have already been produced, we can conserve natural resources and reduce the energy required to produce new materials.
- Supports Keurig’s commitment to sustainability: Keurig is committed to sustainability and reducing its environmental impact. By recycling Keurig pods, we can support this commitment and help ensure a more sustainable future for our planet.
What Do You Do With The Used Coffee Grinds?
First, let’s talk about what you CAN’T do with those used coffee grinds. You can’t just toss them in the trash; that would be wasteful and terrible for the environment. You shouldn’t put them down the drain wither, even if you have a garbage disposal; they’ll clog up your pipes.
So what CAN you do? Here are some ideas for recycling your used coffee grinds:
- Use them as mulch or fertilizer in your garden – coffee grinds are rich in nitrogen, which is excellent for plants. Just be sure not to use too much, as too much nitrogen can actually harm plants.
- Compost them – coffee grinds make excellent compost. They help to aerate the compost and add nitrogen, which helps to speed up the decomposition process.
- Make a homemade facial scrub – mix coffee grounds with some olive oil or coconut oil to make a homemade facial scrub. The grinds will exfoliate your skin, and the oil will moisturize it.
- Keep pests away – Sprinkling coffee grinds around your plants can help to keep pests away. Ants, slugs, and snails all hate coffee, so it’s a great way to keep them out of your garden.
Read More – Check out this one of our articles on 10 more nifty ideas to recycle your used coffee grinds.
How Should You Clean The K Cups Ready For Recycling?
The answer is simple: If you’re just disposing of them with your other recycling, you don’t! Just toss them in the recycling bin and be done with it.
Seriously, there’s no need to go through the hassle of cleaning out your used Keurig pods. Most recycling centers have machines that clean out any remaining coffee grounds or debris.
So next time you finish your morning cup of joe, just pop the used pod in the recycling bin and know you’re doing your part to help the environment. Easy peasy!
On the other hand, if you’re looking to use the Keurig Pods recycling program, it’s essential to know how to clean your pods before sending them off. All it takes is a couple of easy steps:
1. Start by taking out the coffee grinds as well as you can.
2. Rinse the coffee pod with warm water to remove any coffee residue.
Recycling Keurig K Cups: In A Nutshell
Recycling Keurig pods is a great way to reduce waste and help the environment. With global environmental concerns increasing, any recycling innovation is a step in the right direction.
The benefits of recycling Keurig pods are threefold:
- It helps to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills.
- It reduces the need for new raw materials to produce new K Cups.
- It helps support Keurig’s commitment to sustainability.
So next time you finish your morning cup of coffee, be sure to recycle your Keurig pod!
Product Recommendation: Or, consider making the switch to reusable K Cups like our best-selling Green Pod K Cup