With single serve coffee makers being all the rage these days, many people often ask “are the k-cups, t-disks, or pods recyclable”?

Can you answer this question?

Thank you,



Hiya Brooke,

Since single-cup brewers tend to be a top Christmas gift – according to Keurig, 4 million k-cup brewers and $715 million in k-cup packs were sold in the 13 weeks leading up to Christmas 2011–I thought this a timely topic.

The short answer: No, those little single-use plastic, foil and filter cups are not recyclable. Rather than stop there, I find it humorous, in an ApocaDocs kind of way, to share what exactly these companies are saying about their products.

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters “Brewing a Better World” with Keurig: “We conducted life cycle analysis studies to learn more about the environmental impact of our products. What we learned is the disposal of a product’s packaging represents a fraction of the total environmental impact.” Good point. 71 million plastic cups in 3 months time IS only 5,500,000 a week. Which is practically zero.

Tassimo T Discs: “Each T DISC is designed to prepare a perfect cup and cannot be reused. The T DISC should be removed from the machine shortly after brewing and discarded. The used T DISC is suitable for energy recovery through incineration.” Whew. Good to know that burning these little plastic cups can snuff out the guilt of being wasteful.

FYI – it appears that Vue pack cups are recyclable as polypropylene #5.

Coffee is second only to oil in US imports. I think we could all stand to make better choices about our consumption of both.

Piece out,


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  • Sara

    These single cup brewers are such a waste! I really thought the general public was coming around to the absurdity of disposable items, but perceived convenience trumps environmental reasoning on this one. Please do not support these companies. Buy a French press if you enjoy good coffee. No filters or waste.

  • Lloyd

    Using a melita or melita type filter system, one can use the filter and their favorite coffee. The filter and coffee can be composed. Google “making coffee without a machine.” Interesting results. I liked making coffee bags from cotton cloth and holding it together with a fork.

  • http://www.facebook.com/floatyspage Criss Harris

    Mmmmm. Aeropress full of coffee from BJava, local roasters. Mmmmm.

  • carol

    thanks for debunking the verbiage these companies throw at us in their attempts to hide the truth!

  • Judy Kenninger

    There are reusable filters for the Keurig machine. Save money and the environment.

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