K-Cup Pollution, Compostable K-Cup Solution

K-Cup Pollution, Compostable K-Cup Solution

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Why use compostable K-cups?

If you are concerned about waste and plastic pollution,  but you love the convenience and quality offered by your Keurig, then compostable K-cups are the way to go.

Coffee Lover

With the popularity of Keurig coffee makers on the rise, the waste left behind has blown sky high. Literally, these little plastic cups could make mountains of waste up to the sky!

One source states that if we stacked all of the discarded K-cups, we could wrap them around the planet more than 11 times!

In today’s rushed and hectic world, the convenience of these machines is highly valued, but we should take care not to value convenience over life. All life deserves a chance at survival, and we can help all species get their best chance by making small but important decisions. Such as switching to compostable Keurig cups.

Should I get rid of my Keurig?

Keurigs are expensive, ranging from about $70 USD to $230 USD

Using Keurig coffee K-cups is actually a more efficient way to brew coffee than drip method.

Keurig machines use fewer grounds and less water

Since coffee beans are a water-intensive crop, the Keurig coffee brewing system is actually doing some good there.

Keurig coffee machines are also relatively energy efficient.

  • There is no energy wasted keeping a pot of coffee warm
  • They generally have an auto-off function to reduce electricity used
  • The company itself has been awarded, on multiple occasions, for energy efficiency

So the Kuerig coffee maker is not completely terrible. Yes, there are environmental costs to the production, use, and disposal of the machine.

I will leave it up to you, the reader, to decide if you prefer to purchase a Kuerig machine after considering the costs to the environment.Environmental Cost

I don’t own a Kuerig myself, but I do use one that we have at work. I have seen the amount of little plastic cups that pile up first hand. I have ordered recyclable pods, and they were a pretty good deal, but I was the only person there who was willing to go through the necessary steps to recycle them.

What I would say to those of you who already own a Keurig is this: I believe that once you own any product, unless it does great damage to the environment simply by being used, it is best to use it until it has truly run its lifecycle.

Throwing out a perfectly good … well, anything really is a total waste of the resources used to make it. So use it to the bitter end, or find someone who will. That way it isn’t a complete loss.

The biggest issue with the Kuerig, imho, is really the amount of waste generated by the plastic cups left behind.

K-cup waste

How do compostable K-cups work?

Most biodegradable Keurig compatible cups are fully compostable. There is one caveat though, they are only fully compostable in commercial compost processes. Which is probably what you will find at the office if they do offer compost.

This means, however, that you cannot simply throw the whole cup into your compost pile at home. But in most cases, you can disassemble the pods and compost all except for the lip, or ring, which is the part that generally requires special processing.

As the composting process may vary, please consult any instructions provided for the brand that you purchase.

Since I live an apartment, I don’t have my own compost so I haven’t tried the breakdown, but my office does have compost collection and I can simply throw the whole pod in! Easy-peasy.

Try the Faro variety pack to check out all the great, compostable flavors available. My personal favorite was the French Vanilla.

What else can I do?

I would be remiss if I did not mention that there are reusable K-cups that work very well. You can use these by simply filling them with your loose coffee grounds. The downside is that you have to rinse and clean them after every use. While this is a great option for home use, it can be difficult in an office setting where you may not have great access to a sink to wash in and have to count on other

Recyclable K cups are another option, but in my experience, they are rather inconvenient. You must empty the grounds out before you can put them in the recycle bin. Since the cups come out of the machine piping hot, you have to wait for them to cool, then peel off the cover and try to get all the grounds out. Not as easy as it might sound since they are wet and stick to the sides.

If you are interested, here is a brand that I tried that was recyclable, affordable, and good quality and flavor coffee:

They also offer recyclable tea K-cups

If you already have a pile of plastic K-cups building up, you can find different ways to reuse and repurpose them. Check out this awesome BuzzFeed article for 33 funs ways to reuse your K-cups

8 Replies to “K-Cup Pollution, Compostable K-Cup Solution”

  1. I had no idea that they make compostable k cups and I think it is awesome. I have been using the reusable k cups and filling them up with coffee grounds. The compostable ones seem like a good option at work but I think I will stick with the reusable ones at home. It just seems like it is better for the environment.

  2. Oh, this is a good idea!!
    I love to drink a cup of good coffee every morning and I was feeling guilty because of that.
    It’s good to know they are making compostable K cups, that will help coffee lovers to keep having a good cup of coffee and help the planet at the same time.
    Thanks for sharing also the idea to get reusable K-cups that work well, I already wrote it on my shopping list!

    1. Awesome! Glad to hear you put the reusable ones on your list. Let us know how you like them after you try them!

  3. Hello Kat,
    Thanks for the encouraging post and push to recycle. I’m guilty.. I really never even thought about recycling my K-cups. Do they make any special containers for these, or do we just throw them in with the regular plastics?
    I will start looking for compostable K cups. I haven’t tried any of them yet.
    I’ve seen little miniature trash cans with a swivel door on them. I think I’ll get one of those and fix it up pretty with a sign painted on it to recycle. If I place it right beside my Keurig everyone will see it and most likely use it.
    Thanks for sharing this. You are a very thoughtful person, trying to help save our planet.
    Cheers to you,

    1. Thanks, Devara, I’m glad to hear that you are thinking of recycling your k-cups now! The tricky part with k-cups is that you have to empty out the coffee grounds in order to recycle them. Other than that you can just put them in with the rest of the recycling.

      I like your plan to get a cute little can to place them in. Then you could empty them all out maybe once a week. It’s easier after they dry out a bit anyway!!

  4. I was not even aware compostable K-cups exist 🙂 I have been using my Keurig for quite some time now.
    I really do love the comfort, and now it seems like I can have the convenience in an environment-friendly way.
    Thank you for very much for this article, I will definitely look out to get some.

    1. So glad to hear you will be getting compostable k-cups for your Keurig! Thanks for the note, come back and let us know how you like them.

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