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Frequently Asked Questions

1. When will all of your K-Cup® pods be recyclable?

  • We are converting all of our K-Cup® pods in Canada to a recyclable format by the end of 2018 – two years ahead of our North American goal of 2020.
  • Recyclable K-Cup® pods are hitting store shelves across the country now will be available in all K-Cup® pod varieties by next year.

2. What brands are next? Can you give me a list of brands and when their K-Cup® pods will be recyclable?

  • The next brand that will be transitioning into a recyclable K-Cup® pods format is Timothy’s®. Stay tuned for more information on the roll out of other brands!

3. How will I know if a particular K-Cup® pod is recyclable?

  • The recyclable K-Cup® pods are easily identifiable by our on-the-box packaging and a “#5” recycling symbol on the bottom of the pod itself.

4. What kind of plastic is the recyclable K-Cup® pod made of? How is this different from the non-recyclable version?

  • The recyclable K-Cup® pod is made of polypropylene #5 plastic which is recyclable in the vast majority of communities in Canada. By comparison, the cup portion of our original K-Cup® pods is a multilayered plastic, making it #7.

5. How do you intend to achieve your goal of having all K-Cup® pods recyclable in Canada by the end of 2018?

  • Our phased recyclability journey to 2018 is a deliberate one to ensure we do this the right way for our consumers and the environment.
  • We wanted to make sure that recyclable K-Cup® pods are easy to recycle. That is why we partnered with recyclers across North America for the past two years to ensure that our pods are valued and can easily travel from recycling bins at homes to recovery facilities to a useful second life as a new durable good.
  • In addition, we had to ensure the recyclable Keurig K-Cup® pod maintained the same high quality, great tasting coffee experience while meeting the unique brewing requirements of the Keurig® brewing systems.
    • The pods must keep coffee fresh before brewing, withstand the heat and pressure during brewing, and be easily punctured with a needle as part of the brewing process. We’ve solved that issue by utilizing a widely recyclable polypropylene #5 plastic that doesn’t compromise on beverage taste or pod performance within the brewer.

6. What changes or innovations need to be made to introduce a recyclable K-Cup® pod?

  • For many years, we’ve been working to develop a recyclable K-Cup® pod capable of creating the same fresh brewed, high-quality beverage our consumers have come to expect with 100% reliability in all Keurig® brewers across all models.
  • We chose polypropylene #5 plastic for our recyclable K-Cup® pods because it works well in our brewing system, has excellent oxygen and moisture barriers, and is accepted for recycling in a majority of communities.
  • Polypropylene is also considered a high-value material by plastics reclaimers which we believe increases the likelihood of our pods actually being recycled.

7. What differentiates recyclable K-Cup® pods from other existing solutions?

  • First, we wanted to do this the right way and that means not taking short cuts that fail our consumers or our commitment to sustainability. For us, that means developing a product that consumers can and will recycle, and working with recycling facilities to ensure the pods can be captured for reuse.
  • Moreover, we needed a solution that works consistently in all Keurig® hot brewers and meets the unique brewing requirements and quality standards of the Keurig® systems including:
    • Keeping coffee or other pod contents intact before brewing – this means providing a sufficient oxygen and moisture barrier.
    • Ability to withstand the heat and pressure of the brewer process.
    • Puncturable on the top and bottom by the brewer’s water flow needles.
  • Not many people are familiar with the details of plastics recycling, but with the research we have done, investments we have made, and collective action that we are driving across industries, we’re working to increase recycling rates for a whole group of small plastic items like yogurt, pudding and fruit cups, pill bottles, and travel size personal care containers.

8. Why are you pursuing a recyclable K-Cup® pod over a compostable K-Cup® pod?

  • We are making K-Cup® pods recyclable rather than compostable because we believe recyclability is a better option for our consumers at this time. There are two primary reasons why:
    • We’ve explored a variety of solutions, but we haven’t yet found a biodegradable or compostable material for our pods with the barrier properties to allow us to maintain the quality of the coffee you know and love, and that performs well in our brewers.
    • In addition, most compostable products currently in the marketplace require sophisticated municipal or industrial facilities which are not common across Canada and don’t degrade in home settings.
      ■   Most consumers in Canada (98%) have access to recycling but only 1% have access to industrial composting facilities that can process compostable plastics. This means the majority of “compostable” pods is going to landfill or mistakenly to home composting and will not degrade.
  • The infrastructure around recycling is stronger, and therefore we wanted to ensure we selected a pod material that had strong value to recyclers and strong potential to find a second life in another product.
  • Moreover, we continue to encourage consumers to compost coffee grounds.

9. Are you considering introducing a biodegradable or compostable pod in the future?

  • Our innovation continues. We are carefully monitoring the science and access around bioplastics and composting as part of our ongoing effort to responsibly advance the sustainability of our pod design.
  • In addition to ongoing work to catalyze recycling infrastructure advancements, we continue to explore a variety of material and design innovations. As access to and recovery rates for compostable materials increases, we will be able to offer those solutions to consumers.
  • Moreover, we continue to encourage consumers to compost coffee grounds.


Beverage & Order Support1 800-361-5628.