Your Morning Cup of Joe By: Holly Howell

Keywords: Keurig, k-cup, environment, recycle, Western Colorado, water pollution


Are you included in the 16% of households in the United States estimated to own a Keurig [1]? If you are, is your daily morning cup of joe ending up in your local landfill?

kcups       (Source: /)

The U.S. Census reported that there are 59,215 households in Mesa County, CO [2]. 16% of 59,215 households is just under 10 thousand homes in Mesa County, CO that could potentially have Keurig’s. If two people per household enjoyed a daily K-Cup that would mean 7,300,000 K-Cups are entering landfills each year just in Western Colorado. If you consider all of the households in the United States, can you imagine how large that number would be? Just one of the Keurig Green Mountain factories located in Waterbury, VT sold over 9 billion K-Cups alone in 2015 [3].

garbage          (Source:

If you are alarmed, you are not alone! Keurig announced in 2016 that it has set a goal for 100% of K-Cups to be recycled by 2020 [3]. In fact, they already have introduced K-Cups in a recyclable form, which are made from polypropylene (PP) [3]. Green Mountain Coffee which bought the Keurig brand, says that it has been working for 10 years to make recyclable K-Cups, but that it has taken them this long to put all of the pieces together to ensure success [3]. How can we make sure that they are successful?

  • Make sure your home and work recycles.
  • Encourage those around you to join you in recycling 100% of K-Cups and their other recyclable materials.
  • Post instructions on how to recycle K-Cups to help others know how easy it can be. If you hop over and take a peek at Keurig’s website it explains how recyclable K-Cups work. First you need to peel back the lid and dispose of it, empty the contents of the K-Cup (which can be used for compost) and then recycle the pod [4].
  • Help those that might not be able to afford possible recycling fees supplement the cost.
  • Choose other more eco friendly ways to enjoy your morning joe.


It is all of our responsibilities to make sure we are protecting our environment. An example of how garbage affects our lives is that each year 2.2 billion tons of garbage is dumped into our oceans [5]. This pollutes our waters, contaminates our food, kills fish affecting the whole marine ecosystem and ultimately contaminates each and every one of our lives [5].  It is all of our responsibilities to take care of our environment so that it can take care of us.

When you purchase your next K-Cups will you make sure that you are buying the new recyclable K-Cups? I know I will be!



[3] Caliendo, H. (2016). PP Recycling Provides New Life for Keurig K-Cups. Plastics Technology, 62(7), 12-15.




Holly Howell (Grand Junction, CO)-Social work interests include: Hospice and Palliative Care, bereavement, anticipatory grief, aging, death and dying.

Favorite quote: “You matter because you are you, and you matter to the end of your life.”- Dame Cicely Saunders




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