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Because You Asked

Can I Recycle K-Cups?

By Recyclebank |

Single-serve coffee may be convenient, but it has catching up to do in order to reduce waste.

Dear Recyclebank,

Can you recycle the K-Cup plastic pods? I remove the grounds for the garden but would like to recycle the pod. Any input?

-Effie F.

K-Cups, Keurig’s single-serving coffee pods, are made of multiple components, including an aluminum foil lid, a fiber/plastic blend filter, and a #7 plastic exterior. As with other mixed-material items, the materials would need to be separated before they could be processed. Keurig acknowledges that K-Cups are not recyclable at this time but notes that they intend for them to be fully recyclable by 2020.

In the meantime, Keurig also produces Vue cups made of #5 plastic, which is more widely accepted by recycling programs. Vue cups are also accepted by Preserve’s Gimme 5 mail-in recycling program, and shipping is free. However, Vue cups may not be used by K-Cup brewers, and they may not yet be compatible with newer Keurig machines.

Until recyclable K-Cups are developed, and if you are a K-Cup superuser, consider using a Recycle A Cup cutter to separate K-Cups for recycling. Recycle A Cup also accepts the plastic shells for recycling if your local recycling facility doesn’t accept #7 plastic. Shipping details can be found on their website.

When in doubt, try repurposing the plastic cups for storage or crafts. You can find fun ideas for your leftover K-Cups here.

Keurig Green Mountain
New York Times
Mother Jones


Do you drink single-serve coffee? How do you handle your used K-Cups? Let us know in the comments.

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  • marcy v. 3 months ago
    Also I addition TERRACYCLE has a program that accepts all coffee materials: plastic stir sticks, all kinds of k-pods, Nesco Coffee pods( aluminum), hot beverage cups and lids, most all Subaru dealers have a drop off box for these TERRACYCLE acceptable items . Call your local Subaru dealer and see if they have it.
    Go to TERRACYCLE Website. You can get points for different waste you send in and points can turn into money for schools or nonprofits that you work for or with .
  • marcy v. 3 months ago
    There is NO GIMME 5 by Preserve anymore. I keep seeing this ! I used to drop my number 5’s at Whole Foods and they had a Gimme 5 collection box WAY back . Also now many major brands that make K cups are now number 5 and you can compost the tea/coffee and paper inserts and when done taking all that out and putting into compost rinse the plastic /#5 and put in recycling if your county accepts it.
  • Stacy M. 4 months ago
    Happy Valentine's Day!!! Hope everyone is safe & well.
  • Barbara W. 4 months ago
    Feb 7, 2022, I am BA-ACKKKK today since Dec 17th.
    I am going to various places on the site looking for some points to make up for lost time!
    For people that are new, thought I might explain."
    Somehow I could not sign in on July 8th 2021 all the way until Oct 23ish.
    Got back in then it happened again out of the blue on Dec 17, 2021
    . Previous to all that some of us had been joking about the bot in the basement having problems with the workings of the site. If you get captured don't give up , keep trying to sign in. It happened twice to me!
  • Bach-Nga V. 4 months ago
    I have redeemed Shopper Food's Warehouse coupon each month and haven't seen the vouchers since October 2021. I wonder if the recycle bank is still possible to apply for shopper food's warehouse a voucher anymore?
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