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How to Recycle and Repurpose Used K-Cups

I'm a coffee nut, so I love all things coffee — especially brewing my own cup(s) at home in the mornings. And though Keurig is a popular favorite for many coffee-lovers like me since it allows for easy-to-make one-cup coffee (hello, afternoon fix!), its single-use pods are not exactly ideal for those trying to cut down on their waste and plastics. "As with most single-use products, durable, multiuse alternatives will always be more environmentally friendly," says Alex Payne, North American public relations manager at TerraCycle, a recycling company. "Waste-conscious consumers should be encouraged to brew coffee by the pot, but if they already have a coffee-pod machine in their home, they can try reusable coffee pods that can be filled with their favorite ground coffee." If you are the proud owner of a Keurig, don't worry, there are still plenty of ways to make sure you're being environmentally conscious while brewing your favorite drinks. Beyond using reusable pods with your own ground beans, you can often recycle K-Cups. Here's exactly what you should know about recycling K-Cups.

Are K-Cups Recyclable?

Yes, K-Cups are recyclable — to an extent. At the end of 2020, Keurig changed its formula to make Keurig K-Cup pods recyclable. According to the company, it chose polypropylene (#5 plastic) because "it is widely accepted for curbside recycling in a majority of communities across North America and there is growing demand for it as a recycled material." Keurig also recently introduced "easy-peel" lid technology on select items, and those lids feature a built-in tab that makes it simple and convenient to peel off and discard the foil lid. However, K-Cups are not recyclable in every community or location. Consumers have to check with their local recycling service.

How Do You Recycle K-Cups?

If K-Cups are recyclable in your community, just peel and discard the lid using the tab, then compost or discard the grounds and recycle the empty cup. If traditional recycling isn't available in your community, there are other ways to recycle through outside programs and recycling companies, too. TerraCycle, for instance, has a few recycling solutions for single-use coffee pods. Its programs — including its "Zero Waste Boxes" — help to fill in the gaps of what consumers can't recycle with their municipality's curbside program. "By recycling with TerraCycle, consumers not only keep waste out of landfills but they also keep the material in-use by manufacturers," Payne says. "Using post-consumer recycled material in new products proactively eliminates the need to extract additional fossil fuels from the earth."

How Can You Reuse and Repurpose K-Cups?

Traditional recycling isn't the only way to be sustainable with your coffee pods. Try reusing them for other purposes that have nothing to do with coffee. Use them as organizers for small objects — I personally like them to keep hold of bobby pins and hair ties or to sort change — as arts-and-craft projects (paint them! Trace them! Make a garland!); or, if you have a green thumb, use them as seed starters. Other ideas? Make mini popsicles or ice cubes in the freezer using the pods or use them as dip dishes (they're the perfect size for a side of ketchup or ranch, in my opinion). However you decide to repurpose your K-Cup containers, you can feel better knowing that you're getting more out of what was conceived to be a single-use plastic.

Takis Offers Recycling Program Through TerraCycle

Trenton, NJ — Barcel USA has partnered with international recycling company TerraCycle to offer consumers a free and simple way to recycle its Takis brand’s plastic packaging. By participating in the Takis Snack Recycling Program, consumers can earn TerraCycle points that they can choose to redeem for donations to a nonprofit organization or school of their choice. “We are thrilled to partner with TerraCycle to offer our consumers an easy and rewarding way to recycle the Takis snack packaging varieties,” says Sandra Peregrina, marketing director of salty snacks for Barcel USA. “Protecting our planet is so important to our brand and to our consumers, so we’re honored to offer this simple recycling solution for all of our intense Takis fans.” Consumers can make an account on TerraCycle.com, sign-up on the Takis Snacks Recycling Program page and mail in empty plastic packaging using provided prepaid shipping labels. Once collected, the packaging is cleaned and melted into hard plastic that can be remolded to make new recycled products. This program is not Barcel’s first sustainability initiative. According to the company, it has also implemented new technologies throughout its manufacturing process including a heat exchanger that repurposes heat to reduce overall energy expenditures and cleaning techniques to reduce water consumption. “The Takis brand is giving their consumers the unique opportunity to responsibly recycle their snack packaging,” says TerraCycle CEO and Founder Tom Szaky. “Participants in this recycling program can enjoy their favorite snack while minimizing their carbon footprint.”


TerraCycle’s come a long way since its humble origins in 2011. Then, the concept of recycling took the form of waste (feeding organic waste to worms) packaged in more waste (used soda bottles). Cut to 2022, and initiatives like Loop, a platform that allows brands to create reusable versions of their product’s packaging available at any retailer, and TerraCycle Global Foundation, which works to remove plastic from rivers and canals before it can reach the ocean, are well underway. But what business does a company that started with dirt have in the beauty industry? For Murad, a business pioneering the clinical skincare space since 1989, it’s a perfect match. “Dr. Murad’s life’s work is dedicated to helping people attain healthier skin and happier lives, and being able to put forth this partnership with TerraCycle strengthens our pledge to that,” explains Paul Schiraldi, Murad’s CEO. “Consumers are sharper than ever and interested in sustainability, so we wanted to make it easier for them to take care of their skin and the planet.” Partnerships with powerhouse brands like Garnier and pop-ups at Nordstrom locations for easy recycling drop-off prove TerraCycle’s appeal. For Murad specifically, the consumer journey starts once the product is finished. From here, consumers can mail in Murad product packaging using a prepaid shipping label. Once delivered, used packaging is remodeled for life as new product packaging. The brand’s inspiration came from customers, and their unwillingness to compromise. “We know being a sustainably conscious brand is important to our customers,” Schiraldi continues. “We didn’t want them to have to compromise, skin health vs. sustainability, so we merged the two.” By designing recycling processes and consumer-facing recycling programs on behalf of companies, TerraCycle skirts recycling’s notorious pain points by offering something refreshingly straightforward. TerraCycle sees its continued partnerships with beauty brands as good business. Tom Szaky, TerraCycle’s CEO and founder, explains. “Recycling is a business and like any other, it is driven by economics. Individual municipalities may not have recycling programs designed to process waste like hair gel tubes and caps, for instance, because there’s little profit to be made.” He continues, “However, since TerraCycle partners with brands who fund the research and development of innovative recycling techniques, we are able to engage more consumers directly through free recycling programs.” Since beauty and skincare are both categories tied intrinsically to the consumer’s personal choice, or as Szaky puts it “extensions of their own identities,” there’s a certain incentive to consume consciously—whether that means opting for less waste in purchasing, prioritizing “clean” formulations, or giving the product life after the last pump through recycling. Citing the logic of voting with one’s dollars, Szaky explains that the companies they choose to support are their ideals and values come to life. “Because of this additional psychic income from working with TerraCycle, brands across the consumer-packaged goods spectrum are eager to collaborate,” he explains. “This can take the form of supporting nonprofits through the donation incentive aspect of our free programs or creating recycled products, like playgrounds or durable outdoor furniture, made from the waste collected through these programs. These products are then donated to schools or nonprofit organizations on behalf of our brand partners.” Beyond the higher calling of proper recycling, beauty products pose an often-overlooked challenge with the complex rules and regulations that prohibit recycling on the municipal level. Some dark-colored shampoo bottles are unrecognized by sorting machines. Small pieces, think lids or caps, are likely to go undetected as well, ending up in landfills. For Murad, promising customers that they will do better in terms of environmental responsibility starts with packaging. Compostable shipping materials, replacing virgin plastics, and pursuing ingredient transparency are all recent initiatives. Thanks to the brand’s partnership with TerraCycle, Murad empties are coming back in their second life as raw materials, which will be turned into flooring tiles, storage bins, outdoor furniture, and so many other products. The clean revolution in skincare no longer stops at formulation. To be considered clean is to account for the life the product lives beyond its usage.

Recycling helps Scranton school win big

A school in Scranton received an award Monday for going above and beyond with its recycling efforts.
SCRANTON, Pa. — Some students in Scranton are taking a bite out of the landfill problem by recycling toothbrushes.
McNichols Plaza Elementary School recycled more than 400 toothbrushes, along with other dental items.
The south-side school won the Colgate Shoprite School Challenge.
The grand prize includes 70 desk and chair sets, as well as hundreds of backpacks along with pencil cases and pens.
Get this, the students recycled enough material that if stacked would be taller than the Statue of Liberty.
Congratulations to them!

Takis Wants You To Stop Throwing Away Your Chip Bags

Takis is known for its ultra-spicy rolled tortilla chips, but did you know that the company is also big on reducing waste? According to a recent press release, Takis is launching a new initiative with the recycling company TerraCycle, allowing customers to recycle the brand's packaging — and earn points that can be redeemed for donations to nonprofits or schools.
According to Keep Truckee Green, chips are usually sold in a type of bag that isn't recyclable via your typical blue bin. These crinkly bags are made from a mix of different materials like aluminum and plastic. Because it's incredibly difficult to separate these components — which must be done for these bags to be recycled — they usually end up in the trash. TerraCycle, however, has the capacity to recycle these bags — and is hoping its partnership with Takis will divert some of those chip and snack bags from ending up in landfills.
How does the Takis recycling program work? image.png
According to the press release, participants can begin by making a TerraCycle account and signing up on the Takis Snacks Recycling Program page to access a prepaid shipping label. Then, simply use the shipping label to mail your collection of Takis bags to the company. Per the brand's TerraCycle page, you can reuse any box you have and should wait until it's full of used bags to mail it; This will reduce the carbon footprint from shipping. Once they get to TerraCycle's facility, the Takis bags will be cleaned and melted into hard plastic, per the press release. The resulting material can then be used to make other products. After sending each box of Takis bags, participants will earn points, which they can redeem as donations to their choice of organization or school. "We are thrilled to partner with TerraCycle to offer our consumers an easy and rewarding way to recycle the Takis snack packaging varieties," Marketing Director of Salty Snacks for Barcel USA, Sandra Peregrina explained in the press release. "Protecting our planet is so important to our brand and to our consumers, so we're honored to offer this simple recycling solution for all of our intense Takis fans."

Sustainability is in the Bag When You Enjoy Dunkin’® Coffee at Home

May 06, 2022 // Franchising.com // Did you know that when you enjoy a great cup of Dunkin® coffee brewed at home, you also have a chance to help reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in landfills? Thanks to the Dunkin’® Coffee Bag Recycling Program, you can easily mail in your used Dunkin’ flexible ground and whole bean coffee bags to be recycled. And it’s completely free! To make this happen, Dunkin’ has partnered with The J.M. Smucker Company, distributor of Dunkin’ coffee sold in grocery stores, and international recycling leader TerraCycle® to create a national program to recycle all Dunkin’ brand flexible ground and whole bean coffee bags. The bags are then cleaned and melted into hard plastic that can be remolded to make new recycled products like park benches and picnic tables. Get started by signing up with TerraCycle here, and be sure to check out their innovative recycling process. After that, recycle your empty Dunkin’ brand flexible ground and whole bean coffee bags. It’s as easy as 1-2-3:
  1. Collect used Dunkin’ at Home flexible coffee bags; no special container needed
  2. Log in to your account to download and print a pre-paid shipping label
  3. Place the label on your box of used bags, and send the package via UPS
The benefits of this program go beyond keeping plastic waste out of landfills. For every shipment sent to TerraCycle through the recycling program, you can earn points that can be donated to a non-profit, school or charitable organization of your choice. If you jump in to recycle your Dunkin’ brand flexible coffee bags, don’t keep the good news to yourself. Let us know, and inspire others on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok! To stay up to date on all things Dunkin', sign up for our email news alerts at news.dunkindonuts.com/alerts.

About Dunkin’

Founded in 1950, Dunkin' is America's favorite all-day, everyday stop for coffee and baked goods. Dunkin' is a market leader in the hot regular/decaf/flavored coffee, iced regular/decaf/flavored coffee, donut, bagel, and muffin categories. Dunkin' has earned a No. 1 ranking for customer loyalty in the coffee category by Brand Keys for 15 years running. The company has more than 12,600 franchised restaurants in 40 countries worldwide. Dunkin' is part of the Inspire Brands family of restaurants. For more information, visit www.DunkinDonuts.com. SOURCE Dunkin'


Participation in the Dunkin’ Coffee Bag Recycling Program is completely free

Dunkin’ Donuts has launched a new recycling program that helps reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in landfills.
Dunkin’ Coffee Bag Recycling Program
A partnership between Dunkin’, Dunkin’ coffee distributor The J.M. Smucker Company, and international recycling leader TerraCycle, the Dunkin’ Coffee Bag Recycling Program is a national program that aims to recycle all Dunkin’ brand flexible ground and whole bean coffee bags. Collected coffee bags are cleaned and melted into hard plastic that can be remolded to make new recycled products like park benches and picnic tables.
How to join the Dunkin’ Coffee Bag Recycling Program
Create a TerraCycle account to join the program. Signing up is free, but if the program is full, you will be added to a waitlist.
Once you are accepted to the program, you can start collecting Dunkin’ brand flexible ground and whole bean coffee bags, and put them in a box. When your box is full, log in to your TerraCycle account to download and print a prepaid shipping label. After sealing your box, affix the prepaid shipping label and then send the package to TerraCycle via UPS.
To minimize the transportation carbon footprint for this program, only ship the package when your box is full. And while there’s no need to clean each coffee bag collected, it is recommended to remove as much of the remaining product as possible before shipping. Also make sure that the coffee bags are dry, as UPS will not accept dripping packages.
Dunkin’ has sponsored the entire program, so there is no direct cost to you.
Benefits of joining the Dunkin’ Coffee Bag Recycling Program
Beyond keeping plastic waste out of landfills, participating in the program also earns you TerraCycle points. Participants get 100 points per pound of shipment, which can be redeemed for a donation of $0.01 per point to the charitable organization or school of your choice.
TerraCycle has already raised over $45 million dollars globally for schools and charities through its different recycling programs.

Walmart announces new recycling program at BA supercenters

The Walmart Supercenter at 3900 East Hillside Drive is pictured in Broken Arrow in 2018. It is one of three new recycling sites at supercenters in Broken Arrow. The others include locations at 2301 W. Kenosha St. (145th East Avenue) and 6310 S. Elm Place (161st East Avenue). Walmart Inc. on Wednesday announced a new collaboration with international recycling leader TerraCycle that invites shoppers to divert a wide variety of locally unrecyclable waste from landfills.
The new drop-off recycling hubs will include Broken Arrow Walmart Supercenters, as well as some stores in Arkansas.
The BA supercenters include locations at 2301 W. Kenosha St. (145th East Avenue), 6310 S. Elm Place (161st East Avenue) and 3900 E. Hillside Drive.
Products that may be dropped off include:
Skincare and beauty products
Soft plastic food packaging
Oral care products
Food and drink pouches
Home and garden supplies packaging
Coffee capsules and water filters
Plastic bottles
Worn clothing
Pet food packaging
Plastic bags and shipping materials
Plastic toys
Ink cartridges and office supplies
To participate, people are invited to bring their accepted waste, that is not curbside recyclable, to the designated recycling hubs that are positioned outside the participating Walmart Supercenters and Sam’s Club locations.
When the hub station is full, TerraCycle will pick up and transport the waste to regional material recovery facilities, where the waste will be sorted by material type and recycled into raw materials that can be used to make new products, like playgrounds and park benches.
Participants can visit corporate.walmart.com/community-recycling-hub for more information on what can and cannot be recycled curbside.
“Our customers expect us to provide them with opportunities to shop more sustainably. Similarly, they are keen to do the right thing when it comes to recyclability and waste, and access to recycling is an avenue where we know we can play a role given our presence in so many communities across the country. These pilots with TerraCycle will allow us to learn how to make it easier for people to recycle as well as inform our goals and journey toward zero waste,” said Zach Freeze, senior director for sustainability at Walmart.
“Since our founding, TerraCycle has made it our mission to ‘Eliminate the Idea of Waste’ and provide solutions for difficult to recycle items that are not traditionally recyclable curbside,” said Tom Szaky, founder and CEO of TerraCycle.
“Through our partnership with Walmart and the installation of the recycling hubs, we are encouraging consumers to rethink what is waste, as well as help foster awareness that solutions do exist for items that may seem otherwise unrecyclable.”

Earthborn Holistic Pet Food Celebrates Recycling Milestone

  • Pet Product News Staff
  • May 3, 2022
Earthborn Holistic Pet Food, a brand of Midwestern Pet Foods, has reached its goal of recycling 1 million pet food bags by Earth Day 2022 and planting one million trees by Arbor Day 2022, company officials reported. Through UPCs for Trees and a partnership with Trees for the Future, Earthborn Holistic plants trees in deforested areas around the world. Customers collect UPCs from empty bags of Earthborn Holistic products and return them to local participating retailers or mail them in to a designated collection site. In return, trees are planted to create forest gardens and help families out of poverty worldwide, officials said. Throughout the month of April, one returned UPC equaled one tree planted.
With its TerraCycle partnership, Earthborn Holistic pet food and treat bags are 100 percent recyclable through the Earthborn ReBorn Program. Consumers drop off empty bags at participating retailers for recycling and upcycling all at company expense. Reaching the 1,000,000 bags recycled milestone is also equal to keeping 103,356 pounds of waste out of the landfill, officials said.
“We’re thrilled to have hit the one millionth milestone. A big thank you goes out to all of our loyal customers and retailers who participate in both of these programs. We couldn’t have achieved this without you. It’s a wonderful feeling knowing that we’re making a difference,” said Brandi Kramer, marketing coordinator at Midwestern Pet Foods in Evansville, Ill. “At Midwestern Pet Foods, we love producing nutritious food for pets while simultaneously supporting sustainability.”