Can You Really Recycle All Your K-Cup Pods?
Can you really recycle your used K-cups? Well that is the six million dollar question, if there ever was one. Some people are convinced you can’t after unsuccessfully attempting, others say you can if you’re willing to get a little messy, or diligently check what number is on the bottom of the pod.
Awareness of the negative impact of k-cup waste has become pretty prevalent today, and people are becoming more eco-aware and seeking new ways to do our part, and not give up our beloved coffee either.
The problem is two-fold – first, handling the contents of the used k-cup, due to how they are assembled, it’s not so simple as a toss in the bin like we may do with our soda pop cans and the like. Second is finding locales that will accept them. Luckily, we’re gong to look at a few ways we can overcome all of that, so let’s dive in!
Table of Contents
First…Check the Number On Your Pods
How easy it will be to recycle your k cup pods will depend on the pod type, for starters. If you own a Keurig Vue or one of the 2.0 specialty ones like the K-Carafe, this is your lucky day because these particular pods are classified a #5 and thus “recyclable”. You are in good hands!
For these pod types, all you really have to do is to peel off the foil protective cover (there is a lip-like projection on the Vue and K-Carafe pods that makes this easy) From there you should be able to empty out the used grounds rinse out the empty k cup, and…voila. The used grounds make wonderful compost by the way so I strongly encourage that, too!
Here’s what a recyclable k-cup looks like when you separate the contents from the cup.
Can You Recycle K-Cups That Are Classified As “Non Recyclable”?
Yes, but it’s a messy job, you are warned..😁
If you mostly have NON-RECYCLABLE k cup pods, which will have a classification number other than #5, the long and short of it is that you absolutely can take all the stuff out of it, but it WILL be messy (if you’re careful though, you shouldn’t get hurt) I took a small pocket knife and carefully cut a nice neat edge around the perimeter of the cup.
The thing is, the foil lid is fused with the filter/cup and this weird cotton like stuff just hangs on as you try to eviscerate the filter full of grounds. It’s a big difference, this, from one of these, and one of those easy no. 5’s above! But that stuff will come out if you persist; and then you can proceed to rinsing out the cup and saving it in your collection.
Psst! If you want to make this job easier, check out what I have found….
This Ingenious Tool Can Help You Recycle Your K Cups
This nifty gadget is called the Recycle-A-Pod, how it works is you place down so it covers the foil area. Push in the green tabs at he side. Press down and turn it a rotation to completely sever the inner liner/full of used grounds. If done right, you should be able to remove the liner full of used grounds and the filter liner easily. Way better than my approach as it manages to get the foil left on the rim easily.
A fair amount of people do state that it makes the job easier. It does seem like a great idea…but in practice needs a little fine-tuning. This one caveat…the blades get dull after a certain amount (5-6 weeks)of uses. There are 2 pod cutters in the package for this reason. Wouldn’t it make more sense to offer replacement blades instead of more cutters? If I were needing to change blades on something, I could drop the used blades into a sharps box or something.
A few others shared this sentiment too. Second issue: May not be compatible with all brands of K-Cups. It was kind of hinted that the proprietary Kcups would work fine but not others so much (Huh? People want to get away from proprietary this or that right?)
Check Your Local Recycling Centers♻️
Once you’ve got quite a collection you’re going to want to locate the right kind of place to offload them…You may need to check the web or maybe even the local phone book to find a recycling center in your area that is accepting of your stash. We have a few of these centers where I live and they all deal with scrap metal but I have no idea about k cups.
Once you’ve successfully located a place or two, call and find out what their policies are on #5, #7 and the other number categories. If they’re accepted, great! Follow the instructions you are given for handling and dropping off.
Image credit: Walmart
♻️…Or Just Reuse Your K-Cup Collection
If you don’t have a good recycling program nearby, or if there are, but you have the kind that are not accepted…what to do now that you’re stuck with all of those k cups… Bummer right?
Don’t sweat it, you could probably find some cool uses for them. There’s a good amount of ideas here to get you to thinking! As the old saying goes, lemons into lemonade.
You could use them for starting seeds for your garden, toys for kids, I even saw where one gal used hers as molds for homemade bath bombs. There are endless possibilities if you end up stuck with your stash. It may even be a good problem to have 🙂
GOOD LUCK, Happy Recycling!♻️
What are your thoughts? Do you recycle your Kcups or find other uses for them? Drop me a line and let’s hear from you.
Creative Commons Photo Attribution: Top photo courtesy of jalexartis