How to Recycle K-Cups - 9 Creative Ways to Recycle K-Cups

How to Recycle K-Cups

If K-Cups or Nespresso pods are part of your daily routine, chances are you regularly have a lot of empty pods sitting in your trash. Convenience shouldn't come at the cost of our beautiful planet. Now you can have your K-Cups and recycle them too!

Instead of leaving them for a landfill, you can recycle K-Cups in the traditional sense or use them in a variety of ways around the house. We've put together this handy guide featuring recycled K-Cups ideas to give you all of the information you need about K-Cup and Nespresso recycling.

Are K-Cups Recyclable?

Can K-Cups be recycled? Yes! Thankfully, many coffee pods are recyclable in the traditional sense, meaning they can be recycled in the same manner as other plastics and metals. Even some K-Cups that are labeled non-recyclable can be responsibly recycled in both traditional and non-traditional ways. Most coffee pods contain four materials: plastic, aluminum, a paper filter and organic material in the form of coffee grounds. All four materials can generally be separated, sorted and recycled responsibly.

If you choose not to recycle these pods on your own, there are still two other methods of recycling available to you. For those who can't recycle certain plastics or metals in their counties or towns, online resources can help you locate the recycling centers closest to you. There are also many companies, including coffee pod manufacturers themselves, to whom you can mail in your used K-Cups so that they can recycle them for you.

Although these products can be recycled, they must be disposed of properly. One of the problems that arises is that some users will either throw the K-Cup in the trash without attempting to recycle it or throw the entire pod into the recycling bin without sorting it properly. Both of these approaches cause problems, potentially resulting in the pod not being recycled at all. Thankfully, you can easily prevent this issue by learning how to recycle your K-Cups and Nespresso pods properly and responsibly.

How to Recycle K-Cups

Recycle Coffee Pods


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Although coffee pods are non-biodegradable, that doesn't mean they need to sit in a landfill forever. There are many different ways you can recycle your used K-Cups and Nespresso pods. Manufacturers are continuing to refine their product designs to create pods that are recyclable or compostable. Some of these companies even allow you to drop off pods at collection sites or have them picked up or mailed from your home. They shred the pods, recycle the aluminum and compost the grounds for you.

To begin recycling K-Cups in your home, you first must understand that each coffee pod is different. Some pods are made from a polypropylene plastic which is also referred to as number 5 plastic. Plastics numbered 1 through 6 are each unique, plastic featuring the number 7 represents all plastics other than 1 through 6. Many towns allow you to recycle number 5 plastic, but few accept number 7 plastics. If your town doesn't accept all forms of aluminum, you may have to throw away foil tops.

Although these companies are trying to create more eco-friendly products, some pods have yet to be 100 percent recyclable. To recycle those made with a number 5 plastic, you need to remove the coffee grounds, peel the aluminum top off and remove the filter before recycling the plastic. Pods made with number 7 plastic may require the use of a sharp edge to separate the components.

Thankfully, not every K-Cup requires time or effort to recycle properly. Recycling Real Good Coffee Co. pods is as easy as cool, peel, empty, recycle. All of our single-serve pods are made with 100 percent recyclable materials.

How You Can Recycle Our Pods in Seconds

  1. Cool It! After you've finished brewing, allow the pod to cool completely before you touch it.
  2. Peel It! Take the pod out and remove the foil lid. This lid can be thrown into your aluminum recyclable bin without any extra steps.
  3. Empty It! Get all of the used coffee grounds out of the pod. While you could scoop these out over the sink or trash can, we suggest gathering the grounds together and recycling them into your compost.
  4. Recycle It! Throw our plastic filter and pod into your recyclable plastic bin. Not only are you fueled up and ready to go, but you've also helped save the planet all before lunch!

Keep in mind, no matter which K-Cup or coffee pod you use, you must always abide by your local recycling and composting guidelines. Just as throwing recyclables into the trash is irresponsible, placing incorrect items in your recycling bins is also a bad idea. If you're interested in making sure your K-Cups are recycled and put to good use, why not use them around your own home? Believe it or not, there are dozens of fun and functional ways you can repurpose used K-Cups.

9 Creative Ways to Recycle Used K-Cups

Responsible recycling is a great household habit to have, and with the support of your town's recycling centers and coffee pod manufacturers, thousands upon thousands of these K-Cup components can be recycled into other products without ever getting trapped in a landfill. But what do you do if your area lacks the resources necessary to recycle these items properly? Instead of dumping your pods in the trash, we suggest you find creative ways to use the empty K-Cups and Nespresso pods at home.

At Real Good Coffee Co., we care deeply for our planet — after all, it's the wonders of nature that provide us with the delicious coffee beans that become our brew. That's why we make sure that every single-serve coffee pod that we produce is made with 100 percent recyclable materials. If you're looking for a new way to recycle or if you have coffee pods that cannot be traditionally recycled, there are still plenty of ways to reuse them. Here are ten of our favorite:

#1 Create a Bath Bomb

You use your coffee to wake up and feel revitalized — let the coffee pod itself help you relax and recharge. It's super easy to create a mold for a bath bomb using K-Cups. This DIY trick can create weeks' worth of bath bombs in a few minutes. First, if your K-Cup has a filter, make sure you remove it. Then, add all of the bath bomb ingredients into the empty cup and let them set overnight. Remove the mix from the pod, and it's ready for bath time!

#2: Make Frozen K-Cup Treats

Coffee pods are perfect tools for making frozen treats within hours. Of course, the coolest concoction to make is ice cubes made from your leftover fresh coffee. You can also put juice into a k-cup with a popsicle stick and make delightful popsicles for your family. Looking to really get creative in the kitchen? You can freeze chopped herbs and butter to use next time you cook on the stovetop. For an adult-twist on K-Cup recycling, use them to make jello shots.

#3: Easy Holders for Sorting Change

Spare Change

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Who doesn't have a large container of spare change somewhere around the house? Eventually, you're going to need to sort and change those coins into bills. Grab your K-Cups and let them help you sort. Keep a K-Cup in the laundry room and near wherever you place your keys so you can easily remove all loose pocket change and prevent it from building up in one area. Sorting coins is also a fun and educational activity for young children to help you with.

#4: Let Kids Use K-Cups However Their Imagination Sees Fit

Sometimes, the best K-Cup uses are ones you haven't thought of yet — but your children will surely have their own ideas! After checking to make sure the used K-Cups are clean and not broken, feel free to give them to your kids and watch them play. They are also perfect for water tables, sandboxes and bath time! Teach them how to stack K-Cups to make cool structures. You can even create a miniature bowling alley with a small ball and K-Cups as pins.

#5: Create Dazzling String Lights

String lights can really transform a space. Whether you're using them in your outdoor entertaining area, in your child's bedroom or even just for the holiday season, string lights are fantastic and festive additions you can use many places in or around your home. Simply cut a hole in the bottom of your K-Cup and string the lights through. You can make plenty of other cool decorations for any time of the year with additional K-Cups, such as a minimalist wreath, advent calendar or ornaments.

#6: Recycling K-Cups as Seed Starters

What better way to recycle your K-Cupsthan than by using them out in your garden? You can quickly turn a coffee pod into a seed starter. Add a base layer of garden soil into the cup followed by the seeds of your choice. Then, top the cup off with more soil and plant it in your garden. Be sure to water these cups regularly and give them adequate sunlight. Of course, you can also add coffee grounds to your soil too, as they make great fertilizer and mulch.

#7: Used K-Cups for Office Organization

An organized office is an efficient office. Take a look around your desk and discover how many areas are cluttered with miscellaneous supplies. Although K-Cups might not make for great pen holders, they can still contain the small items that are just as necessary. Dedicate one cup for push pins or tacks and another cup for paperclips. These are also great resources for a creative's at-home office, as they can store craft items like safety pins, sequins, beads, buttons and more.

#8: K-Cup Craft Ideas

Creative K-Cups Uses


Adults aren't the only ones who can reuse K-Cups for their daily activities. These small pods make great tools for children's crafts and are especially effective at curbing messes. For instance, you can use a dozen small K-Cups for different paint colors without wasting or spilling bottles of paint. You can also fill them with glue, glitter or other messy substances to keep them contained.

#9: Use K-Cups for Meals

While you may not want to use a K-Cup as a precise method of measurement while cooking or preparing food, having a single-serve cup available is quite handy. Fill these empty cups with ketchup, mustard or other condiments when you serve foods like fries or chicken nuggets. These are especially useful when portioning out sauces for children's meals.

Not sure if you want to keep so many empty K-Cups around your home? You can also collect them and donate them to facilities that can recycle them in creative ways. Schools, art centers and science centers may find uses for K-Cups. Ask around to friends and family to discover who might need these great recyclable tools. If your office has a machine that uses coffee pods, you could also suggest that your coworkers place them in a dedicated box to be recycled periodically.

Recycling K-Cups doesn't need to be difficult, inconvenient or costly. With a minimal amount of effort and imagination, you can discover unlimited ways to reuse these pods. It doesn't matter how you use them, as long as it's safe, environmentally responsible and prevents them from sitting in a landfill.

Recycle Your Real Good Coffee K-Cups

Recyclable Coffee Materials

At Real Good Coffee Co., we care about the environment and the people who drink our coffee. All of our single-serve pods full of coffee roasted fresh in Seattle are made with 100 percent recyclable materials. We choose to provide real good coffee to real good people, and we believe that we share in the responsibility of preserving our planet.

We encourage all of our customers to practice responsible recycling habits and reuse or recycle all of their K-Cups — those manufactured by Real Good Coffee Co. as well as any other coffee pods you may use. Shop our recyclable K-Cups today!