How to Recycle K Cups

Three Methods:Cleaning the K CupsRecycling the K CupReusing the K Cup

Keurig "K" Cups cannot be recycled without processing and, therefore, must be thrown into landfills. Wrong! There are ways to recycle, reuse, and upcycle K cups and keep them out of landfills. Read on!

Method 1
Cleaning the K Cups

  1. 1
    Use the K Cup. Since a K Cup is a single-use beverage maker, use it once. You will want to clean the K Cup regardless of its final destination to prevent bacterial growth.
  2. 2
    Remove the lid. The foil lid on top is punctured but not removed during the brewing process, so completely remove it.
  3. 3
    Dispose of any remnants. There may be solids or liquids still inside the K Cup which need to be removed.
  4. 4
    Wash and Rinse. With soap and water, clean out the K Cup to prevent bacterial growth. Then rinse to remove soap residue.
  5. 5
    Allow to fully dry. Let air dry overnight to prevent bacterial growth.

Method 2
Recycling the K Cup

  1. 1
    Follow the cleaning steps.
  2. 2
    Purchase a separator. These can be found online and in some stores. Due to the K Cup's three layers, it cannot be recycled without being separated.
  3. 3
    Follow the directions. The most common K Cup Recycler, the Recycle A Cup, is very simple to use - just attach to the top, rotate, and pull up. Other Recyclers work almost identically.
  4. 4
    Rinse off the layers. K Cups have three layers that protect the mix from the environment and are sometimes adhered together. A quick rinse in hot water should remove any adhesive that may be present.
  5. 5
    Recycle. Now the fun part starts! There are a few options you have now;
  • Municipal recycling - most can handle the separated parts, just place in the bin.
  • Preserve Recycling - this organisation will accept K Cups mailed to them for recycling.
  • Recycle A Cup - this company will recycle K Cups mailed to them for recycling.
  • Keurig - in some areas, Keurig and their energy partner, Covanta, will compost some parts and use the other parts for energy.
  • Sustainability Offices - some colleges, companies, and schools have programs that accept K cups for recycling and/or composting.
  • Others - a quick online search can reveal more local and regional recycling, composting, or energy options for old K Cups

Method 3
Reusing the K Cup

  1. 1
    Follow the cleaning steps.
  2. 2
    Get Creative. Here are some ideas of ways to reuse a K Cup;
  • Small plant cup. If you have a plant you do not intend on eating, K Cups make great mini pots. Since the plastic is not designed for repeated usage or prolonged exposure to water, do not eat plants that were grown in a K Cup.
  • String lights. Micro LED bulbs can be used to make a decorative string of lights - just cut a small hole in the top and stick the bulb in, gluing if needed. Only use LEDs as incandescents may cause the K Cups to overheat and burn.
  • Egg dye holder. To get the two halves of the egg dyed different colours, fill a K Cup with colouring and place the egg (in shell) in the cup. Again, K Cups are not designed for repeated usage or prolonged water exposure so eating is not advised.
  • Small organisers. Cleaned K Cups can be used to store most anything that won't be eaten. Once decorated, K Cups can be a creative way to store supplies.


  • Be creative! K Cups can be used anywhere.


  • Do NOT put K Cups where they can be exposed to heat! Plastic can burn if left in prolonged contact with heat.
  • Do not use K Cups for food uses. K Cups are designed for one use only and repeated use may cause plastic components to leech into food.

Sources and Citations

  • -Craft Idea Source
  • -Environmental Source
  • -Craft Idea Source (Macedonian)
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Categories: Reduce Recycle and Reuse