Designing for good

We’ve committed countless hours working with recyclers, manufacturers, and our own engineers to find just the right materials and processes to make recyclable K-Cup® pods a reality.

It’s all in the materials

When we work together to recycle, the impact is powerful. It starts with the right material. We chose polypropylene #5 plastic because it’s recyclable, in high demand for new products, and makes a darn good cup of coffee. We’re also working with the recycling community to further expand the collection and reuse of #5 plastic.

There’s not much we haven’t tried

All great ideas start with a problem to solve. And innovation comes from trying and trying again. Here are some of the ideas that led us to the recyclable K-Cup® pod.

My K-Cup® reusable coffee filter


InnovationOur reusable coffee filter gives you a single serving
of your favorite coffee — as many times as you like.

Paper-based K-Cup® pod


InnovationCustomers wanted a compostable product, so we
gave it a try by designing paper-based K-Cup® pods for tea.
The compostability was a win, but the rest didn’t live up to
our quality standards.

Vue® pod

IdeaRecycling with a new Keurig® system

InnovationOur first recyclable pod made with #5 plastic,
the Vue pod for the Vue® brewing system helped us learn
about recyclable materials and the complexities of the
recycling industry.

Recyclable K-Cup® pod

IdeaRecycling for all

InnovationRecycling is easy for everyone and every Keurig®
brewer. We’re transitioning 100+ production lines across all
our manufacturing facilities to get recyclable K-Cup® pods
to your door.

The magic inside a K-Cup® pod

Recycling our #5 plastic pods is simple



Remove the foil lid and dispose of it.



Compost or discard the pod’s contents.
(Filter can remain.)



Recycle the empty cup.

The people behind the process

It takes a team of bright minds and visionary thinkers to make recyclable K-Cup® pods a reality. From engineering to testing, our employees and our partners are obsessively working together toward our 2020 goal of getting recyclable K-Cup® pods in every home.

I’m very proud that we have the toughest standards for quality — in switching to #5 plastic, there could be no compromise."

- Ali D., Environmental Sustainability Engineer

Dozens of teams throughout our production network are hungry to deliver the new K-Cup® pod to our customers. To make it happen we’re transitioning over 100 manufacturing lines by retrofitting equipment, redefining our processes, and reimagining business as usual.

We do a lot of trials, from puncture testing to permeability of oxygen to viscosity of plastic. The pods have to qualify on so many levels to ensure the highest level of quality."

- Joe H., Pod and Appliance Development Engineer

Before pods ever make it to your brewer they've been through dozens of tests — from heat resistance to light penetration to material verifications — ensuring pods can be recycled and brew an exceptional cup of coffee.

There’s work being done on our manufacturing lines so that the machines can accept this new product. Then there’s everything that goes into building the cup. A lot of engineering is going into that little pod.”

- Stu M., Program Manager, Recyclable K-Cup® Pod

Beyond our own facilities, we established award-winning testing protocol at materials recovery facilities (MRFs) to determine the potential of our pods to be recovered for recycling. Over 90%†† passed the test and made it on to recycling.

Via the EPA calculator for the 35,111.64 short tons of CO2e saved equates to 6,728 Passenger vehicles driven for one year.
Resource Recycling Systems proprietary database, state permitting records, and BioCycle’s and Compost Council of Canada; sourced from the Resource Recycling Systems Canada Survey 2015–2016.
Resource Recycling Systems and Moore Recycling Associates Inc., “2015–16 Centralized Study on Availability of Plastic Recycling,” July 2016.
Equivalent to recovery percentage for PET bottles which are widely recycled today.