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Recycling Tip: Cut Out the K-Cups

RedFish Recycling

Let’s face it: as a country, we love coffee. And almost as much as coffee, we love convenience. That’s why it isn’t surprising how single-serve coffee has taken off in recent years.

Coffee pods – popularized by Keurig and commonly known as K-cups – are extremely popular among coffee-drinkers, as is evident from their sales more than tripling since 2011. Many companies have installed Keurig or other coffee pod machines in their breakrooms for their employees. And while single-serve coffee is certainly convenient, it also has its issues. Most notably, K-Cups are terrible for the environment.

How? Only 5% of K-Cups are made from recycled plastic. The rest are made from something called “#7 composite plastic,” which is non-recyclable in most places. This means thousands and thousands of K-Cups are going in landfills each day. Just think about how many K-Cups your company goes through in its breakroom. And with everything we know about how harmful plastic is to the environment, it’s easy to see how big a problem this is.

But there’s some good news: Keurig is on the right track. While their system isn’t perfect, they’ve identified the environmental problems and are now taking steps to improve the K-Cup system. According to Keurig’s sustainability report, their goal is to make 100% of K-Cup packs recyclable by 2020. Within that same time frame, Keurig also plans to achieve zero-waste status at their manufacturing and distribution facilities.

These are positive developments, but what can you do in the meantime? Pretty simple: ditch the K-Cups. You don’t need to panic, you can keep your Keurig coffee machine. But instead of using the plastic K-Cups, invest in reusable coffee filters for single cup use.

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