Plastics Recycling Update

Keurig targets recycling for K-Cups

Keurig Green Mountain, which helped popularize single-serve coffee and tea pods, is attempting to beef up its recycling efforts.

Keurig, which has faced considerable criticism in recent years over its unrecyclable K-Cup products, says it will begin rolling out recyclable polypropylene pods this year.

The company has also become a sponsor of The Recycling Partnership. It will also begin using recyclable pods this year.

“The transformative work of The Recycling Partnership is a perfect match for our ambitions,” Monique Oxender, the company’s chief sustainability officer, said in a press release, “At Keurig, we’re taking meaningful steps to transition to a recyclable K-Cup pod well before our 2020 goal of having 100 percent of our pods be recyclable. We’re also working beyond our product packaging to address challenges related to all small-item recovery in the recycling infrastructure and to improve end-market demand for reclaimed materials.”

The company announced last week it would be rolling out its recyclable K-Cup. According to the company, testing showed the PP cups were fully recyclable at materials recovery facilities. Plastics Recycling Update reported on that development as well.

The New York Times published an article last week criticizing the company’s shift toward recyclable pods as “hardly green.” The story quoted a representative from the Natural Resources Defense Council, who noted that the overall environmental harm of creating single-serve pods (even if recyclable) surpassed the environmental impact of other brewing methods.

Keurig’s Oxender stood up for the product. “When you look at the trends toward single-serve generally, you can either villainize it, or you can fix it,” she told the Times. “We’re trying to fix it.”

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