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Should You Recycle K-Cups®? Let's Break it Down

Should You Recycle K-Cups®? Let's Break it Down

We get it. We all want to act responsibly and recycle everyday items, like K-Cups®,  so they can go on to have another life. But the fact is that many of us are confused about what can and can't be recycled, including K-Cups®. The lack of clarity is one of our largest barriers to helping the environment. In fact, a 2020 survey of 2,000 Americans revealed that 62% worry that a lack of knowledge is causing them to recycle incorrectly.

A surprising 22% of Americans report not having enough recycling information, and 18% admit they don't understand what can and can't be recycled. 

Let’s break this down to our everyday use. The average person generates 4.4 pounds of solid waste every day. Americans throw away enough garbage in an average year to circle the earth 24 times! And nearly 40 million K-Cups®/day end up in our landfills. It makes us think about what changes we can make to do our part, like buying recyclable K-Cups®.

Can you Recycle K-Cups?

For those of us who enjoy delicious, fresh-roasted coffee in recyclable coffee pods, there's a lot of room for recycling improvement. Like recycling in general, not everyone knows HOW to recycle a single-use coffee pod. Some brands require you to separate the filter from the pod. Other brands ask you to rinse the pods before you recycle them. Cambio Roasters® makes recycling your coffee pod simple in 3 easy steps:

  1. Peel back the recyclable lid, using our easy-to-peel tab
  2. Empty the grounds in your compost or garbage
  3. Recycle the pod and lid in your recycling container. There’s no need to separate the filter, rinse the pod or remove the lid.

Think about this: If you took the K-Cups® consumed by a family that drinks four K-Cups®/day and laid them end-to-end, in one year, it would extend to be almost as long as a football field!

Why Does This Matter?

This year, Americans will drink more than 18 billion K-Cups® and as you learned, nearly 40 million K-Cups® per day that are not recycled head to our landfills. Imagine that!

K-Cups® are made from a variety of plastics. You can determine which type of plastic is used by looking at the bottom of the K-Cup®. The type of plastic is designated by a number between 1 through 7 on the bottom of any plastic item you purchase. The recycling numbers are a uniform way of classifying the different types of plastic and it aids recyclers in the sorting process.

Recycle Number 5 - K-Cups

One of the most recyclable and common type of plastic is polypropylene, or #5. Once #5 polypropylene plastics are recycled, they go on to have another life and come back as everyday items, like food containers, appliances, automotive parts, furniture, cosmetics, and much more.

Polypropylene plastic is very strong with a high-heat tolerance, which is why it's used in high temperature products like K-Cups® and automotive applications. Polypropylene is quite easy to recycle and accepted in most MRFs (Materials Recovery Facilities) across the U.S. Continued advancements are underway to ensure an increasing number of K-Cups® will be recyclable in the future.

Ready to buy recyclable K-Cups®?

Great! First, be sure to look for #5 on the bottom of the package or container. There are a couple more reasons why Cambio Roasters should stand out, if you’re shopping for recyclable K-Cups®:

  • The most recyclable K-Cups®, like Cambio Roasters, allow you to remove the lid, dispose of the grounds, and then recycle the K-Cup®, lid and filter into the recycling bin, without separating the filter or rinsing the K-Cup®.
  • To make recycling even easier and less of a mess, a few brands like Cambio have an easy-peel tab that makes removing the lid easy. Finally, you don't have to insert your finger into the grounds to remove the lid.

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Learn More About the Cambio Approach 

Cambio Roasters® wants to help you reduce your "eco-guilt." By sending your recyclable K-Cups® to a recycling facility, you'll allow the #5 plastic to have another useful life. Think about the difference we can make. If we all took simple steps, like recycling K-Cups®, we’ll help make an impact on our swelling landfills.

Not recycled in all communities. Keurig® and K-Cup® are registered trademarks of Keurig Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. Cambio Roasters LLC is not affiliated with Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc., or Keurig Inc.