Category Archives: Blog

The Solution to K-Cups Pollution

According to Market Watch, There are around 121 million households in the U.S., and Keurig has a machine in about 20 million, or 16%, of them. Not only is that a lot of coffee, but it is a lot of single use K-Cups as well. According to The Atlantic, there are enough Keurig K-Cups in landfills to circle the Earth more than 12 times and the number continues to grow.

We’ve all dreaded being the designated coffee maker in the mornings at the office, which is probably why Keurig single serve coffee brewer aka K-Cups have been extremely popular. Everyone loves the smell of fresh brewed coffee in the morning but nobody loves to make it unless it’s convenient.

Why do we love K-Cups?

We live in a fast pace time. Everything is made to be convenient and quick; it only takes 30 seconds to pop in a K-Cup and get Starbucks coffee instantly! How could we ever say no to that?

Coffee gets us up in the morning and even on time to work. You may even need extra coffee in the middle of the day to motivate you to keep hanging on, using a possible 3 K-Cups a day. That is 1,095 K-Cups a day for 1 person. If you’re still holding on to your Keurig for dear life and just can’t let go, we may have the solution to your K-Cup pollution that will keep you and the earth happy. If your office (or even your home) is stocked with an abundance of K-Cups, you may want to invest in one or more of these items for your office. 

1. Grounds to Grow On Program

Keurig Green Mountain’s “Grounds to Grow On” recycling program. They will ship recyclable containers to you with return shipping labels attached, for your office to throw used K-Cups in. You would then ship the K-Cups back to them to be taken apart and recycled (for a fee of course). Technically, K-Cups are considered recyclable once they’ve been taken apart but not while still all together. K-Cups are made of plastic, aluminum and paper that can be separated and recycled individually but in reality, who has time or wants to make time to pull apart their used K-Cup every morning to recycle all of it’s contents?

This would be a fantastic office solution for your K-Cup pollution if your employees/co-workers use over 20 K-Cups a day.

Don’t use that many K-Cups a day? No problem!

2. Recycle-A-Cup!

Solution #2 would be the company “Recycle A Cup“, who has a nifty contraption that separates the aluminum, filter and plastic in one twist. This would be great for at home or small businesses who don’t use as many K-Cups a day but still want to be Green! After pulling apart the cup, you can recycle your plastic and aluminum then compost your coffee. Voila! No more K-Cup waste. If you don’t know where to recycle your plastic but still want to recycle at work, Business Recycling Solutions offers a great B2B recycling program to pick up recyclables in the office, all in one bin!

3. Reusable K-Cups

The most common way to reduce K-Cup pollution is to purchase a reusable K-Cup. All you have to do is empty it and refill it with your favorite coffee. This option would divert plastic and K-Cup waste in the landfills completely.

Recycling doesn’t have to always take a lot of work. With the right resources, everyone could recycle in their home and workplace easily while still maintaining convenience! Let us know in the comments below, if this blog was helpful to you.

How to Determine What Plastic is Recyclable!

We’ve all been there. Looking curiously on the bottom of our water bottle or milk carton thinking, what the heck does that number mean? It has the recycling symbol so it must be recyclable right? In reality, those recycling symbols don’t always mean that it is recyclable. The numbers reveal the true meanings and they are NOT all recyclable. In fact, some of the chemicals used in certain plastics are so toxic that it is illegal to recycle it because it will release emissions harmful to our environment. Resin Identification Codes range from 1-7 and each number breaks down what you can and cannot recycle.

Plastic No. 1(PETE or PET)

  • Recyclable PET stands for Polyethylene Terephthalate. PET is commonly found on items such as water bottles, cups, shampoo and conditioner bottles and mouthwash. It can be recycled repeatedly however, according to ABC Science, the longer a liquid is left in a PET container, the greater chances Antimony Trioxide (used as flame retardant or catalyst) is released. Have you ever left a water bottle in your car or store them in your basement? Did it taste like plastic once you tried to drink it? This is why. It’s better to just recycle the plastic instead of reuse the plastic bottles to avoid bacterial growth.

     

    Plastic No. 2(HDPE)

  • Recyclable HDPE stands for High-Density Polyethylene. This another common plastic used for milk jugs, yogurt, refillable plastic bottles, toys, detergent bottles, plastic crates/buckets etc. This is one of the safer plastics that has a lower chance of releasing toxic chemicals and is safe for reuse. According to Natural Home Brands, recycling #2 plastic helps create new pens. Fireworks, recycling containers, lumber, fencing, water pipes, detergent bottles and more. 

     

    Plastic No. 3(PVC)

  • Not Recyclable or Difficult to Recycle PVC stands for Polyvinyl Chloride but I’m sure you’ve most commonly heard of PVC pipe. Plastic #3 is used for items like PIPES, children’s toys, saran wrap and shower curtains. PVC is a soft and flexible plastic. It contains numerous toxins which it can leach throughout its entire life cycle, which is why it is not recyclable. Some recycling centers may take it but it is rare. This plastic is mostly recycled in Europe.

     

    The lack of recycling for all plastics is what leaves landfills and oceans full of plastic that pollutes the oceans and landfills.

    Plastic No. 4(LDPE)

  • Difficult to Recycle LDPE stands for Low-Density Polyethylene. LDPE is typically used for plastic bags, six pack rings, dispensing bottles and  body wash bottles. Not usually recycled through curbside recycling due to specific equipment needed to recycle this plastic but there are a few outside recycling centers who recycle this plastic so check around your local centers.

     

    Plastic No. 5 (PP)

  • Recyclable PP stands for Polypropylene. PP is a low hazard plastic used for yogurt containers, medicine bottles, plastic bottle caps and straws. You can reuse this plastic and recycle it. Check with your recycling program to see if they take this form of plastic.

     

    Plastic No. 6 (PS)

  • Not Recyclable or Difficult to Recycle PS stands for Polystyrene. From the word, you can see it sounds like Styrofoam which is what this plastic makes. This is a common plastic for plastic plates and cutlery, Styrofoam or take out boxes, egg cartons, foam peanuts, etc. This plastic is a hazard and is found to leach styrene, a possible human carcinogen, into food products (especially when heated in a microwave). It can be recycled but it extremely rare and are typically only at outside recycling centers. A lot of recycling center will not recycle this plastic.

     

    Plastic No. 7 (MISC)

  • Difficult to Recycle The miscellaneous plastic is for any other toxic plastic and typically includes plastics with BPA in it. Most #7 plastics are not recyclable because they can leach chemicals that cause health risk. There may be certain recycling centers that take this plastic but most won’t due to the harmful effects it would have on the environment and people. Items like sunglasses, water bottles and baby bottles contain this plastic.


    When buying items in plastic it is always best to check what form of plastic it is and avoid any that are hard to recycle. When buying or using plastic it is always best to not heat plastic up. Heating plastic is usually the cause of releasing those harmful chemicals. Avoid plastic tupperware and cups. Glass is always the safer option, free of harmful chemicals and long lasting. When cooking, Wooden or Bamboo cooking utensils are safer also due to the heating of plastic when cooking. The lack of recycling for all plastics is what leaves landfills and oceans full of plastic that pollutes the oceans and landfills. Now that you have the information, how can you make it better?