If you love your single-cup coffee maker, the sound of that foil lid being punctured probably does more to wake you up than your alarm. But the sound of that same plastic cup dropping into the trash can is a different kind of wake-up call.
It’s estimated that nearly 9 billion K-Cups — yep, billion — end up in landfills each year. But it doesn’t have to be this way. With a dollop of glue here and there, you can reuse K-Cups in all kinds of practical ways.
We’ve rounded up the seven best ideas below.
Wait, Can You Recycle K-Cups?
The answer depends on how much work you’re willing to do. While the individual components of a K-Cup are recyclable, the pod as a whole can’t be broken down by recycling machinery. In order to recycle a K-Cup, you need to:
- Remove the aluminum lid.
- Separate the filter from the outer plastic cup. Recycle a Cup is a great tool that makes this step easy.
- Place the cup with other plastic recyclables – or into your general bin if you don’t have to separate recycling in your area.
- Do the same for the aluminum lid.
- Compost the filter and coffee grounds.
Keurig plans to have recyclable pods on the market by 2020, but in the meantime breaking them down yourself is the only solution. Of course, taking these steps isn’t always practical. Luckily, there are plenty of other ways to keep your K-Cups out of landfills.
How to Reuse K-Cups
1. Keep Herbs Handy
There’s nothing like fresh herbs to enhance a meal, but most of us have trouble buying them in the right quantity to use up before they go bad. But a few used K-cups could solve that problem for you. Chop up your leftover herbs, pack them into a K-Cup and freeze. Bam — you’ve got a stockpile of fresh herby goodness to call upon whenever you’re in danger of a bland meal. You can also freeze chopped garlic this way to build yourself a time-saving stash.
2. Organize the Little Things
Empty K-Cups can be used to corral small items that are hard to keep organized. Just line them up in your junk drawer, craft supply bin, sewing kit or other messy area to hold anything from safety pins to loose beads. Consider placing the K-Cups inside a shoe box or drawer organizer to keep them lined up neatly. Unlike plastic baggies or lidded cases, their open tops make it more likely that you’ll actually continue using them!