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After A Decade Of Trying, Keurig Finally Creates K-Cups You Can Recycle

Epluser Co.,Limited | Updated: May 17, 2016


Single serve coffee pods and the machines using them to produce a great cup of coffee have become extremely popular in recent years. Keurig Green Mountain is proof of that as it managed to sell over 9 billion of its K-Cups pods in 2015 alone. However, there’s one big problem with those pods: they are made from a plastic that can’t be recycled.

If plastic can’t be recycled it ends up in a landfill where it won’t decompose for centuries. It creates a major problem for the future, and forms a PR disaster for Keurig and other companies in the same market the longer it continues. So Keurig has come up with a solution.


It has taken a decade, but we are finally going to get Keurig K-Cups made out of plastic that can be recycled. The new pods will replace the non-biodegradeable plastic #7 with polypropylene, which is already extensively used across a range of products. A common one you probably come into contact with regularly is flip-top bottles, as polypropylene is resistant to fatigue and so makes for a good plastic hinge.

Creating a recyclable replacement for K-Cups has taken the company a decade to solve. A number of factors made the redesign hard, for example, any new pod needed to be backwards compatible, retain a strong oxygen barrier, and not be susceptible to being punctured during transport or use while also withstanding the pressure exerted when used in a Keurig machine.


The final design for the new pod came about by changing not just the plastic, but the way the K-Cups were formed. The old pods used thermoforming, while the new polypropylene ones switched to injection molding.

Keurig intends to introduce K-Cups you can recycle before the end of 2016. Then half of all K-Cups will use the new design by 2018 and then all of them will by 2020. However, the one caveat to the shift to a recycled plastic pod is the fact you can’t just chuck them on a compost heap to decompose. Polypropylene needs to be recycled at a specialist facility so will require you to dispose of them responsibly to ensure recycling occurs. Keurig is set to support this byinforming you where the pods can be recycled locally.

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