Plastics Recycling Update

Keurig to offer mail-in recycling, compostable pods

Keurig Dr Pepper logo on screen under magnifying glass

In addition to a mail-in program for its current pods, the company plans to launch plastic-free pods. | Pavel Kapysh/Shutterstock

Keurig plans to launch both a mail-in recycling program for its PP pods and a new line of compostable pods.

The company settled a lawsuit recently over greenwashing and the recyclability of its K-Cup pods, which are made of PP but are too small for most MRFs to handle. 

In a press release, the company noted that later this year it will offer a mail-back recycling program for K-Cup pods via “as an option for those consumers who cannot currently recycle their coffee pods locally.” On its webside, Keurig acknowledges its K-Cups are “not recycled in many communities.”

Keurig is also “actively working with communities and recyclers to help increase acceptance of K-Cup pods where they also accept polypropylene,” the press release added. 

In addition, the company plans to launch plastic-free pods, but they will not be compatible with older machines. The “K-Rounds pods” are ground pressed coffee, wrapped in plant-based coating, “eliminating the need for plastic or aluminum.” They will only work in the new Keurig Alta brewer. 

The K-Rounds will come in different sizes for specific types of coffee beverages. A code marked on the pod will allow the Alta brewer to determine what kind of pod it is. 

“After brewing, K-Rounds plastic free pods can be disposed of like coffee grounds and are expected to be certified compostable,” the press release added. 

Keurig plans to start consumer beta testing of the Keurig Alta system as early as fall 2024 and will take feedback before making the K-Rounds and the new brewer available to the wider public. 

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