Saturday, August 31, 2013

What to do with used K-Cups?

So I have to admit, I got a new computer a while ago. Like a month ago. And I have not done any posts because I hate it. I haven't even wanted to turn it on because Windows 8 is horrible. I don't understand how it is supposed to be an improvement on the previous Windows. The NASA control station is probably easier to use. So that's my excuse for not posting much all summer. But I can't avoid my computer forever, so I decided to finally post something. Sigh.

Someone had asked me a question about what to do with used K-Cups. I looked at some of hers and found there was no marking on the box or cup itself to tell what number plastic it was (1,2,4, and 5 are accepted in most municipal recycling streams, while 3,6, and 7 are harder to deal with.) So while K-Cups are quick and convenient, almost all of them are ending up in landfills. I was curious what they are actually made of, but all I could find on Keurig's website was this quote:

"The challenge of protecting the freshness of roasted coffee while using environmentally friendly packaging is one that both Keurig and the coffee industry are committed to overcoming. We are very sensitive about the waste created by the K-Cup® packs and are investigating alternative materials. Finding a solution for this is a priority for us, and one we hope to have before long."

So that was no help. Other sites said that the cup is made of a special plastic that is not rated for recycling, and that seems to be the case. But there are still options! The best thing to do is get a reusable K-Cup and fill it with your own coffee or loose leaf tea. They're cheap and you will save a lot of cups from going to the landfill. You can find them online and most home goods stores.

Coffee companies are looking for solutions too. Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. has started a program called Grounds to Grow On. It is available to workplaces that use Keurig machines. The basic idea is that they get special receptacles for their used K-cups. The used cups are sent to GMCR's disposal partner, who separates the cup components. The coffee grounds are composted and the plastic is used in energy-from-waste processes. They have also invented the Vue cup which is made out of #5 plastic and can be recycled. Look for these Vue cups instead of regular ones.

And if you do use regular K-cups, you can still cut down on some of the waste by separating the components. You can peel off the foil lid and throw it in with your aluminum recyclables. The used grounds can also be composted, or reused in one of these ways from one of my posts. Hope this post was informative for K-Cup users. Remember, I had to use my stupid computer to bring you this information, so reduce K-Cup waste!

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