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How to Recycle K-Cups

Can you recycle K-Cups? It depends!

How to Recycle K-Cups

Do you love your Keurig like a member of the family? Then you probably know that deciding what to do with used K-Cups can be a challenge.

These little plastic cups aren't especially eco-friendly. You use one every time you make a cup of coffee, and you can't simply throw the used pods in the recycle bin with your plastics.

However, there are options for those of you who love to make your coffee this way! We can show you how to recycle K-Cups, and we even have some options for upcycling these little plastic pods.

How to Recycle K-Cups

In order to recycle your used K-Cup, you will need to take it apart and recycle the individual pieces. You may be able to recycle all or some of it.

To do this:

  1. Wait for your used K-Cup to cool (very important).
  2. Peel off the aluminum top. This can be recycled with your metals.
  3. Remove the coffee grounds and paper liner (if there is one). These can be composted.
  4. You may not be able to recycle the remaining plastic container. Keurig is in the process of rolling out recylable K-Cups, and if you have one of those then you can toss the plastic cup into your recycle bin. If not, then unfortunately you will just need to throw it away.
How can you tell if your K-Cup is recyclable? Check to see if it has the #5 plastic recycling icon on it. If it does, and your recycling program accepts that type of plastic, then you can recycle it!

More Ideas for How to Reuse K-Cups

If you can't recycle your K-Cups, then reusing them is a great option. K-cups can actually be pretty useful to have around, especially if you have kids. They can be made into a variety of kid-friendly toys and games. Try one of these ideas!

  1. Use K-Cups as building blocks. Kids can stack them into pyramids or other fun structures.
  2. Use K-Cups as toys in the sandbox. They can be used to make shapes out of sand or decorate sand castles.
  3. Try one of these K-Cups crafts. Make them into pretty Christmas ornaments, garland, and more! These recycled K-Cup gnomes are just too cute.
  4. Use K-Cups to start seeds for your garden. Fill them with potting soil and your seeds, water regularly, and watch the little sprouts start.
  5. Use K-Cups as doll or stuffed animal accessories. Depending on the size of the toy, the K-cups could be pretend drinking glasses, buckets, laundry baskets, and more!

When will K-Cups be fully recyclable?

Other Ways to Make K-Cups More Eco-Friendly

If you want to save money and help the planet, then reusable K-Cups are a great option. You can purchase special reusable plastic cups - like this one - and fill them with your own coffee grounds. You insert them into your Keurig like a regular K-Cup, and then you can simply dump out the grounds into the compost bin once your coffee has brewed. 

If that's not your thing, and the recycling options above sound too complicated, don't forget that you can find other ways to make your coffee! We understand that the Keurig trend is very convenient. However, you can make delicious coffee in a variety of other ways that produce less waste.

  1. Use a French press coffeemaker.
  2. Use a Chemex or traditional drip coffeemaker with compostable filters.
  3. See if your favorite local coffee shop will fill a reusable travel mug for you. Many offer this as an option, especially if you purchased the mug from that coffee shop.

Inspiration for K-Cup Recycling

In order to put ourselves into action, sometimes we need that jolt of inspiration to kickstart our creativity! We can think of no better source of inspiration than these Upcycled K-Cup Planters (shown). They're gorgeous, creative, and an unexpected joy to behold. Who knew you could bring such beauty (not to mention great home decor) into the world from one little k-cup? 

Upcycled K-Cup Planters

Even More Sources of K-Cup Recycling Inspiration

Looking for even more clever ideas to help save the environment and make cool home decor? Check these out!

  1. K-Cup Flower Pin Cushion
  2. Recycled K-Cup Lion Craft - Great for kids!
  3. Mini K-Cup Bushel Basket
  4. DIY Seed Starters in Upcycled K-Cups

What do you do with your used K-Cups? Let us know in the comments!

Up Next: How to Spring Clean: The Pros, Cons, And Budget-Friendly Tricks You Need to Know

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I think Keurig cups make the coffee making process easier but it's sad that you cannot recycle all of it. If you buy the recyclable type, you're on the right track but if you have the old type there are still many ways you can reuse them. I bet you could paint them and make a wonderful garland for Christmas or let your kids use them in the sandbox. there are many options this article gives that help you ease pressure on the landfills.

This is an amazingly useful article! I don't use a Keurig at home, but it's what they have at work and I feel guilty every morning when I throw that K-cup out. I see several ways here that I'd reuse them. Thank you!

I think these are great ideas. I use K cups all the time but I feel so guilty about tossing them in the trash. Thanks for the awesome ideas!

So many great ideas here. And good for Keurig for making recyclable ones!

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