Coffee Pods & Capsules

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Why Are Coffee Pods a Big Problem?

Over 10 billion pods are sold each year. Back in 2014, researchers estimated that the number of K-cups landfilled that year could circle the globe 10-12 times.

If you need to use a coffee pod, choose a reusable one.

Read more in The Atlantic and USA Today.

Coffee Capsules Never Recyclable Curbside

Coffee capsule creators often tout their products as “recyclable.” In theory, the plastic portion of a coffee capsule is (not the lid or filter). In practice, however, the cups are actually too small to be captured and recycled in recycling facilities where objects are separated based on size and density.

Ways to Reduce

Purchase a Reusable Coffee Capsule

Instead of buying individual brand-name coffee capsules, try a reusable capsule like the EZ-Cup, which will work in your single-serve coffee machine with your own coffee and uses biodegradable filters. You could also consider the 100 percent compostable cup, the PurPod100.

french-press

Try Another Brewing Method

Many other methods of making coffee use fewer materials than capsules. French presses or espresso makers don’t require any single-use materials. Percolators or pour-over coffee kits only require a coffee filter.

Did You Know?

The Price of the Coffee Capsule Craze

Coffee capsule packaging creates about 966 million pounds of waste annually, or the equivalent of throwing out 150,000 Hummer H2s every year. Designer Eason Chow invented the Droops Coffee Maker, a cup alternative that is entirely edible, in order to solve this growing problem. Find out more.

A Recycling Program That Turns K-Cups into Cement

It’s small, but it exists: in Canada, there’s a program that recycles K-Cups into cement. In 2014, it recycled about 1.4 million K-Cups for this purpose by drying the pods, shredding them, and heating them to 2000°C to form ash, which is subsequently turned into cement. The program has been so successful that it may expand into more Canada locations.