Instructables
Picture of Composting K-Cups
One of the significant downsides to all one-cup coffee makers is the waste they generate.

Submitted by think|haus for the Instructables Sponsorship Program.


Most often, the response to this problem is "buy the reusable filter cups" -- and that'd be great except it really doesn't help the convenience aspect. 

To solve the problem, my daughter developed her own method for reducing the cups to their components and getting the grounds and filters into the compost bin instead of the garbage. 

Unfortunately, the plastic used in the cups isn't recyclable, but at least the compostable product is not going into the bin.



Note: K-cup is a trademark of the K-cup people. I like the product, don't like the waste. This is not meant as a hinderance to their business model.
 
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Step 1: Open the kcup

Picture of Open the kcup
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Safety first -- be sure to use a knife that is sharp (dull knives cause injuries) and work in a well lit area.

Use a knife (or other sharp implement) to cut into the foil top of the cup. Through experimentation, it has been discovered that quartering the foil is the best way to open the cup.

Remove the foil - it is probably not recyclable either - paint and plastic and such. 

Step 2: Remove grounds

Picture of Remove grounds
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There's no way to keep this step from being messy. 

Dig the grounds out of the cup. 

You will make a mess, so do this over the container you're using to transfer to your composting bin. Also, sweep the floor afterwards. 

Step 3: Remove the filter paper

Picture of Remove the filter paper
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The filter paper inside the cup is glued to the top edge of the cup. 

Pull the paper out and remove it either by tearing or cutting. 

Tip: A dry kcup will tear more easily. 

Step 4: Pile up the discards

Picture of Pile up the discards
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Once you've removed the grounds and filter, the remainder is just the plastic cup and the foil pieces from the lid. 

If you're careful, you can reduce your waste by a huge amount. 

This is a reason to smile.

(also makes a great chore for your 11 year old daughter)
mwojtylko10 months ago
The aluminum foil lids look to be recyclable, if my Google search is to be believed.
cdeboever1 year ago
I compost mine as well. I just poke my finger through the hole the machine punchs. Then dump out grounds and recycle the rest.
Kiteman1 year ago
Man, you drink a lot of coffee!

It's aways great when folk recycle, and as far as I know the lids are recyclable, since it takes less energy to burn off the paint than it does to mine & refine more aluminum from scratch.