How to Recycle Your Single Serving Coffee Pods ..  if possible

by Jennifer

Inherent in any petsitter’s life is the dilemma of which things to pack and which things to use at the petsit. 

Life of a petsitter. Here I am with little love Juno

I have one large army backpack that allows me to pack a lot. However, I only try to pack the essentials as otherwise my backpack will be too heavy. If   I can get away with wearing an outfit two days in a row, I will. As a result, I don’t pack a French Press and coffee. I rely on what coffee options are there, and if there are none, I ask Sandy to brew a couple cups that he can bring to me in a bottle.

Now here’s the dilemma. Over half of our petsits are equipped with Single Serving Coffee Machines – Tassimo, Keurig, Nespresso, etc. These machines conflict with sustainable living, as they contribute so much waste. However, I also value the ability to quickly fix a delicious cup of coffee or espresso each morning.

And so I examine…

The Sustainably of Single Serving Coffee Pods

Or… The Lack Thereof.


Currently I am in a household of Verisimo users. According to the Sustainability FAQs of Verismo®, “The pod container is made of polypropylene #5, which is recyclable if the lid, filter and coffee are removed.” 

“Unfortunately, at this time the pods are recyclable only in select communities that have appropriate recycling facilities.”

Nespresso claims to collect pods for recycling wherever it does business and has 14,000 pod pickup locations in 31 countries, capable of processing 80 percent of all the capsules they make,  However, “most coffee pods are not recyclable. Even when they are made of recyclable materials, they are too small for most recycling facilities


Some cities have banned the single serving coffee pods as they do not align with their community values.

It can be difficult avoiding Single Serving Coffee Machines 

Single Serving Coffee Machines have revolutionized the industry of home brewed coffee. As early as 2014, “sales of coffee made in single-serve brewing systems account for more than a quarter of every dollar Americans spend on coffee to drink at home.”

“By 2018, market-research firm Mintel expects consumers to spend nearly as much on coffee pods as they do on bulk coffee.”


I am at my wit’s end running around the city between jobs, petsits, and all the other locations that factor into my nomadic life, so I have decided I’ll continue to drink these little suckers, but I will recycle 

Here’s my process

Empty the receptacle. 

I found seven other pods in the disposal receptacle. Score! More to recycle!

Tear open the pods 

Composte the coffee grounds

Toss the filter, and recycle the plastic pods


NYC recommends that one, “Empty and rinse disposable coffee pods before recycling with your metal, glass, and plastic. To ensure the best end use for your coffee pods, use a manufacturer take-back program such as Nespresso.”

He yure’s to hoping NYC will recycle this plastic, and think twice about whether the convenience of single serving coffee pods are worth the negative impact you’ll have on the environment with this use.

Looking to green your Single Serving lifestyle?

NY Times – Keurig’s New K-Cup Coffee Is Recyclable, but Hardly Green

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2 Comments
  • Kiri

    Reply

    I just prefer not to drink coffee using pods. I compost the coffee and clean my fancy machine.
    Yes – the machine is a little bit more expensive – but it actually produces less waste.
    Kiri
    Set to Glow
    http://www.settoglow.com.au

    • Jennifer Liepin

      Ahem sister. That is the best way to go. Ideally French press to make a delicious brew with no waste as the grinds can be composted

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