K-cups are often considered to be extremely convenient but also wasteful. After a single drink, a k-cup is usually just thrown away. But they don't have to be. There are ways that you can recycle k-cups in your home so that you can enjoy your freshly brewed coffee and tea without having to worry about the environment.
Conventional Recycling Methods
Conventional recycling methods work with k-cups just as with any other type of plastic. First, you will need to remove the lid from the k-cup. Only the k-cup itself—which is plastic—can be recycled. Because the k-cup is an opaque plastic, it should be placed with other opaque plastics. The marker at the bottom of the cup will tell you what type of plastic the k-cup is. You can then throw your k-cups with your other recycling. If you don't have a monthly recycling service, you can instead store them and take them directly to the recycling station.
K-Cup Recycling Services
For those who don't want to have to deal with pulling apart the k-cups and washing them, there are direct k-cup recycling services. To use these, you simply need to mail your k-cups directly to the location. Often, these services use the grounds and everything; you don't need to rinse out the k-cups or even empty them. These services will usually recycle the plastic but will use the actual grounds as compost.
The most efficient and effective method of recycling is actually to reuse an item rather than recycle it. Recycling still takes energy: plastic has to be cleaned, melted down, and then refined. Reusing, on the other hand, takes very little energy. You can reuse coffee grounds yourself in a garden or in your lawn by turning them into compost. The empty k-cups can be used for a variety of things, such as planting very small seedlings for a garden. Get creative, and you can even have the kids use k-cups for arts and crafts.
Of course, there are also reusable k-cups available—they just need to be loaded for each use. Keurig itself offers a reusable cup that comes with many of its devices. But the above methods will make it easier for you to use the single-use disposable k-cups without potentially hurting the environment. There are many Keurig flavors and drinks that simply cannot be used without a disposable cup, and you want to have variety without having to hurt the environment.