Recycling Your K-Cup Coffee Pods

April 3, 2018

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We have a love/hate relationship with our single-cup coffee makers. With one out of every three Americans owning one we do love its convenience.  However the plastic single-serve capsule is where our love turns to hate as an estimated 20 billion of them will end up in landfills this year because the plastics are not recyclable. However customer pressure is causing some good changes for Mother Earth. Nespresso coffee pods, or capsules, as the company calls them, are recyclable. And the pods for Starbucks' Verismo pod coffee maker as well as the Tassimo T-Disc pods are are made of aluminum rather than plastic. The single serve giant, Keurig is working to have all its pods recyclable by 2020.  For now, its K-Mug, K-Carafe, and Vue pods are made with recyclable plastic. There are just two K-Cups varieties, Green Mountain Breakfast Blend and Green Mountain Breakfast Blend Decaffeinated, which are using recyclable plastic.  The rest of the K-Cups remain difficult to recycle. However some pods considered non-recyclable can be recycled with a little effort. In most cases, it comes down to a pod's plastic shell. First, you'll want to know the gauge of plastic in a pod. Look on the package for the number within the recycling symbol's triangle. Plastics are categorized from 1 to 7, with 1 being the easiest to recycle up to 7 which is a catchall for plastics that do not fit in categories 1 through 6. The good news for Ocala and Marion County is those recycling programs DO accept #7 plastics, which includes your k-cups. But first, for any coffee pod, you've got to separate the coffee grounds with the aluminum foil top and plastic container first, which can be messy. An option is to buy a special K-Cup cutter. A company called Medelco makes a Recycle-a-Cup Cutter, $14 for two, which you attach to the top of the pod and twist to more easily separate the top and filter from the plastic pod shell.  There is always the option of returning to your coffee pot, where you just use a paper or reusable filter.

SOURCE: Consumer Reports

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