After visiting Kona last month, I’ve started drinking coffee again. I can’t have too much since I have a sensitive stomach, but a cup of 100% Kona coffee every once in a while is simply the best.
I usually brew coffee in a French coffee press, but I do see that single-serve home brewing systems are getting popular. Really popular. In fact, 13% of the US population uses these single-serve coffee systems, and Keurig has the biggest market share. The single-serve market has grown from $103 million in sales in 2007 to $11.8 billion in 2013.1
So I’m going to address the elephant in the room. K-Cups are not really eco-friendly. While many single-serve coffee producers take steps to reduce the environmental impact of K-Cups, such as recycled packaging in the box, sustainability practices and Fair Trade Certified coffee, there’s still some waste involved in using them.
What options are there to cut down on waste? I’ve got a few…
How to Recycle K-Cups
1. Ditch K-Cups.
The most eco-friendly choice when making coffee is using a high-quality French coffee press with a bag of coffee beans. You can then grind the coffee and use exactly what you need. That’s what I prefer to do. A drip-style coffee maker or Chemex coffee maker (popular with coffee aficionados) that uses disposable filters is another option. While the filters are disposable, you could recycle or compost them.
2. Opt for reusable K-Cups.
If you prefer using a Keurig, another option is to reusable K-Cup and fill it with the bagged coffee. And when you’re on the go, you could fill a reusable K-Cup and store it in a reusable sandwich bag and use it in a Keurig.
3. Recycle and upcycle K-Cups.
For those who prefer the single-use K-Cups (no judgment here, I still go to Starbucks once a week myself), you can still take steps to reduce your environmental impact. You can recycle parts of a K-Cup or upcycle the plastic K-Cups.
How to Recycle a K-Cup
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