How to Recycle, Reduce & Reuse Your Coffee Pod Waste


Home pod brewers have taken over the universe and the landfills.  Green Mountain company, the K-cup makers, are bringing back the “My K-cup” option which allows brewing of any ground coffee in their machines.  This may or may not have anything to do with customers having “passion” for brewing their preferred bagged coffee as their press release explains.

We are living in a time when a cup of coffee is so much more than a cup of coffee. The taste of it is only the tip of the iceberg. Was it ethically and ecologically grown? Were the farmers fairly paid? How was it shipped and packaged? And what do you do with the waste?

If you still love your coffee pod brewer and haven’t given it up yet – here are a few things you can do to help:

  • Any brand of coffee pods can be opened by cutting and peeling back the foil wrapper once used and grounds can dumped into your green bin or compost.
  • Raw grounds alone can be sprinkled in your garden but only around acid loving plants like azaleas and blueberry bushes. Knowing that the average Canadian drinks about 4 cups per day, most of it brewed at home means that you’re probably making more grounds that your property line has.
  • There are compostable K cup type varieties available and some are even superior Fair Trade, Shade Grown Organic.
  • Keurig commits to making all pods recyclable by 2020.
  • Tassimo brand now has a recycling program that offers pick up programs or drop off spots across the country.
  • If all else fails, K cup pods have their own little following on Pinterest of craft/recycle projects.

I find myself switching back to a French Press method that has been my go to since the 80s (and likely the most environmentally friendly way to help reduce the coffee waste). It doesn’t really take all that much longer than the machines, just more early morning alert ability to boil water.  And the longer the beans stay whole, the more flavour and phytonutrients they retain. The longer the beans stay in contact with the water, the more flavour and nutrients they transfer.

Best French Press Method:

Grind beans to a coarse grind as you boil water

Place 2 Tbsp per 6 ounce cup of boiling water of grounds into press

Pour boiling water into the press and stir for at least 30 seconds (critical!)

Wrap in a towel and allow to stand for 4-7 minutes

Gently and slowly press until all of the grinds are compressed at the bottom

Pour off all of the coffee immediately. If you need to keep it warm, use a travel mug rather than letting it sit in the grinds at risk of becoming bitter. (The coffee, not you).


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Author: Theresa Albert

Theresa Albert is an on-camera food and health expert, nutritionist and writer who loves to spread the word on food. She is a Food Communications Specialist and Toronto Personal Nutritionist. Tweet with her at @theresaalbert & find her daily at

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