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?
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.