I am a coffee person. My kids know not to task me with anything too difficult until I’ve had the chance to at least sip my coffee. Usually one cup, maybe two, is enough for the day though so last year I put the new-must-have coffee device on my Christmas wish list. My husband bought me the Keurig coffee maker, as well an assortment of K cups. He even remembered to get the Fair Trade Certified brands.

Oh my Keurig

Oh my Keurig

Once the thing was set up and I brewed my first cup, I took the used K cup to the refuse bins. Recycle or Garbage- which one? I hated to do it, but this thing was plastic, foil, and food waste. It went in the garbage but over the next few days it began to pile up. So I did some experimenting. Despite what Keurig’s website says…you CAN recycle these cups.

Question
Are K-CupĀ® packs Recyclable?
Answer
The challenge of protecting the freshness of roasted coffee while using environmentally friendly packaging is one that both Keurig and the coffee industry are committed to overcoming. We are very sensitive about the waste created by the K-CupĀ® packs and are investigating alternative materials. Finding a solution for this is a priority for us, and one we hope to have before long

The process works best if you wait until you have 10-15 cups ready to toss. We put the used ones in a bowl next to the Keurig. When it is full we prepare the empties for recycling. Here are the steps:

Step 1- Peal the foil off

Peal the foil off

Peal the foil off

Step 2- Shake out the grounds. We like to shake them into house plants. Coffee grinds make great compost matter. Hypothetically if you had enough it would be worth the trip to the outdoor compost bin. Coffee grounds are also bug repellents so that is another reason to put them in the house plants.

Shake out grounds

Shake out grounds

Step 3- Rip out the paper liner. Not all K cups have this. Some have a plastic disk at the bottom which you can pop out with your finger nail. It depends on the brand but I haven’t come across any filter methods I couldn’t remove.

Peel out the filter

Peel out the filter

Step 4- Recycle or Re-purpose. In my county we have a great recycling program. I have noticed that other counties don’t though. If you can’t recycle here are some ideas for re-purposing K cups.

Ready for the recycling can

Ready for the recycling can

Platter or dish holders. They are sturdy and can handle heat.

Holding up a plate or dish. They can handle heat and are very sturdy.

Holding up a plate or dish. They can handle heat and are very sturdy.

Sorting cups for small items like pills, beads, change, etc.

Sorting cups for pills, change, jewelry, beads, toys.

Sorting cups for pills, change, jewelry, beads, toys.

And my favorite idea by far…
Seed starters. They are the perfect size and already have a drainage hole. Line them up in a tray, fill them with 3-4 tablespoons of dirt, and put a seed in each cup. You can label the seed right on the cup. Give them water and sun and yout garden is on it’s way.

Seed starters

Seed starters

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