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What Do You Do With Used K-Cups?

bucket of K-Cups

Photo Credit: Benny Wong/Foter

K-Cups Present Environmental Conundrum

According to an article in this morning’s LA Times, more than 9 billion K-Cups have been sold to date. That’s a huge mountain of little plastic cups piling up somewhere — or more to the point — everywhere. The addition of K-Cups to the waste stream is a growing concern at the intersection of the coffee community, which tends to support environmental causes more than not.

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, which packages the vast majority of K-Cups sold, is well aware of the dichotomy. The company works hard to offset the environmental damage by being green in as many other ways as possible, and has been searching for ways to engineer the K-Cup in a way that makes it more environmentally friendly. In the meantime, the coffee roasting and packaging company has launched a recovery program for used K-cups — with some serious limitations, as noted in a post a September post  at Coffee & Conservation.

Keurig and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters also offer a My K-Cup Reusable Coffee Filter, and there are a number of 3rd party K-Cups on the market that you can use with your own ground coffee. Others offer Kaps for K-Cups or Paper K-Cup Filtersthat you can use with purchased K-Cups to get more than one use from them (fill with your own coffee, of course). Single serve coffee makers like the Keurig offer convenience, but as always, convenience comes at a price. The choices that you make about how you use your Keurig can help reduce that price, both financially and environmentally.

Deb Powers has been reading about coffee, drinking coffee, brewing coffee, writing about coffee and roasting her own coffee for nearly 30 years.She confesses to being a coffee wonk and finds endless fascination in even the most meta of coffee information.
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Deb Powers (Chamie) at

Deb Powers – who has written posts on CoffeeBreak.Today.

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