Easily Recycle Your K-Cups With Zero Waste Boxes From TerraCycle

Many of us know recycling K-Cups, pods and capsules is not always the easiest, and there’s some confusion around what part of the capsule is actually supposed to be thrown away or separated. We’ve seen all kinds of recommendations and clever ideas on how to recycle K-Cups and make use of leftover waste. Well, we have good news: recycling your coffee capsules just got much easier. CoffeeForLess.com has partnered with TerraCycle to turn your K-Cups, pods, and other capsules into recyclable materials — and all it takes is a box.

The best part about all of this? There’s no separation needed on your part. Simply collect all your K-Cups, capsules, or coffee pods, toss in the Zero Waste Box, and send it off. The label is already there for you.

So How Does it Work?


The TerraCycle Coffee Capsule Zero Waste Box™ can hold 600 capsules

Use the Zero Waste Box to recycle any and all pre-packaged capsules used in capsule-specific machines, including K-Cups, Nespresso-compatible capsules, and coffee pods.

  1. Purchase the TerraCycle Zero Waste Box from CoffeeForLess.com. It will be
    shipped directly to your door.
  2. Fill the box with used coffee K-Cups, capsules or pods. TerraCycle estimates the small Zero Waste Box can hold about 600 capsules!
  3. When the box is completely full, hand it to any UPS delivery person (return shipping is included) and they will bring it to a TerraCycle Zero Waste facility.

The cost of the Zero Waste Box includes:

  • Color printed shipping box
  • Pre-paid UPS return shipping label
  • Processing of waste

Important tip to keep in mind: Please do not include used tea or coffee filters, loose coffee grounds, electronics (coffee makers) or any other coffee and tea accessories.

Coffee Capsules Get a Second Life

TerraCycle re-purposes the waste into sustainable, affordable building materials, and other consumer products by making every part of the K-Cup recyclable. From the TerraCycle website, the process is broken down:

“The collected waste is mechanically and/or manually separated into metals, organics and plastics. Metals are smelted so they may be recycled. The organics (such as the coffee grounds) are composted. The plastics undergo extrusion and pelletization to be molded into new recycled plastic products.”


Source: zerowasteboxes.terracycle.com

You can now recycle your Keurig K-Cups, capsules, and pods effortlessly with a Zero Waste Box from TerraCycle. As the popularity of K-Cups and capsules continues to climb, we’re glad to offer a revolutionary solution that helps reduce the environmental impact and product waste left behind by our favorite brewed beverages.

In the comment section below, let us know if you’ve had any experience reusing or recycling your K-Cups. We’d love to hear your feedback, or any questions about the Zero Waste Box program.


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  1. NOT for $70.00 which is left out of this announcement. You are paying for the box and the (included) return shipping. A nice idea, but why one want to pay for the privilege of recycling.

  2. This is ridiculous. Pay $70.00 to pay someone to take the K-cups? That adds an enormous cost to using the K-cups that puts makes them too expensive to buy.

    We have been collecting ours and shipping them to a company that recycles the plastic and it costs us maybe $15 to send them a large box of them.

    Please advise how many K-cups fit in this recycle box and what the adjusted cost of K-cup use becomes.

    • @Larry, thanks for the feedback. The box holds approx 600 capsules, and at $70, we estimate about .11 cents per k-cup to recycle. The box includes shipping and handling, with the bulk of it in the processing of the waste done on the TerraCycle side.

    • What company accepts yours? Please provide a name or a link. I can get almost 700 k-cups into coffeeforless box, which adds about 10 cents per cup. Not overly expensive, and I like knowing that I’m doing my part to save what’s left of our planet.

  3. I would gladly do all that but not if the box to ship it costs me more money.

  4. what is the cost…

    • @linda, the cost is $70, which includes the box, shipping/handling, and most importantly the processing of waste. That is bulk of the cost done on the TerraCycle side.

  5. what is the cost

    • @linda, the cost is $70, which includes all the shipping and processing of the waste once the box is sent back to TerraCycle. The bulk of the cost is the processing and recycling of the products. TerraCycle estimates it’s about 600 capsules per box — in other words, about .11 cents to recycle a k-cup.

  6. The item at Coffee for Less shows $70. Is this really the price for ONE BOX?

    • @Sherry, thanks for the question. Yes, the price is $70 for the box and that includes shipping and processing of waste, and that is the bulk of the cost. TerraCycle handles the processing of waste once the box is sent back. All the shipping costs are included in the box as well. The box holds about 600 capsules, so we’re estimating about .11 cents per capsule to recycle.

  7. I have been recycling my k-cups for some time, and just like Zero Waste, I recycle every part. I cut the rim off the k-cup using the device made for that purpose. Then I remove the filter and grounds into a compost bucket. Then I use a paring knife to cut a slit and peel the foil off the rim. The foil goes into the aluminum bin and both pieces of plastic into plastics bin. I have found that the k-cups used by Coffee People for Black Tiger coffee are superior for recycling. They use less plastic, thus it cuts apart easier and you actually cut through the plastic and the filter, making the grounds and filter easier to remove into compost. They also seem to use less paper. If I could find a decaf coffee k-cup made the same way as the Black Tiger k-cup, I would never buy any other k-cup!

    • @Kauffman Bette — great info. Thanks for the share!

    • Kauffman, you may take the time to separate the pods…. except that the plastic part IS NOT recyclable. It is made out of plastic #7 and that is what TerraCycle is taking care for the $70.

  8. Can they be used in Canada, too?

    • @Jim — at the moment, the product isn’t available in Canada but we are working with a company in Canada to make it so. Stay tuned!

    • TerraCycle ships to Canada now. Also, Staples Advantage offers TerraCycle boxes in small, medium and large. I’m not sure about this particular company, but if you just want the TerraCycle they sure do.

  9. I have recicled as cutting off the top and using the grounds for my garden plants

  10. Good idea…bad pricing. Way too much money! I believe in saving the planet, but not at that price!!!

    • @June, thanks for the feedback. The pricing is based on the entire process, most of which is the recycling process itself. That is where TerraCycle handles a great deal of the matter. It’s a pretty big box, so it may take some time to fill too. The breakdown is about .11 cents per capsule, on average for the $70 box (assuming it can hold 600 capsules).

  11. $70 for a box to recyle Kcups is ridiculous! I am aware of the wage but I don’t think you should expect too many folks to order these.

    • @Geri — the cost includes the processing of waste at TerraCycle, so the $70 price tag isn’t just for the box. It works out to roughly .11 cents per k-cup to recycle, after it’s all said and done, given the box holds about 600 capsules. I think we can do a better job of showing the whole process broken down in future posts.

  12. To clarify, do you mean that there is NO NEED to clean out the kcup of coffee grinds?

    • @Daphine, there is no need to clean or rinse the k-cup after it’s done brewing. You can toss the k-cup right into the waste box and that’s that.

  13. Finally! Great idea! Will share.

  14. Way too expensive. Don’t expect you will have many takers at this price. Love the concept though.

  15. This sounds like something nice to do. However it will take some time to fill the box. In the meantime, won’t it get kind of moldy and stinky from the grounds in the containers?

    • @Frederick — that’s a good question. We haven’t heard of any issues with mold or smell. Maybe a quick rinse of the capsule would keep that from happening!

  16. Great idea!

  17. I think recycling is worth every penny. $70 for being able to recycle K-Cups is worth it in the long run! 🙂

  18. Why not make a smaller sized box available for small households.

  19. I agree with Kat’s question. Why not make a smaller box for small households? There is no way I can wait to send back 600 K cups. I keep an empty k-cup box that holds 22 next to the Keurig and when it is full we dump it in the trash. If you had a box the same size that holds the 22 k cups, I would probably do it.

    • Carolyn, thanks for leaving a comment. This is great feedback — we can take this kind of idea to TerraCycle (the company that provides the box and recycling), and see if they can manufacture smaller boxes.

  20. The cost is worth it to me for the ease and privilege of continuing to use the KCups I love. We have to take responsibility for our chosen actions, we know that Kcups are not easily recycled, an additional strain to the landfills and environment. Until those KCup producing companies opt to pay for the recycling, we should do what we can. I’m glad this company exists in the meantime.

  21. So what if I continue to clean out each kcup…and stack in this box…imagine how many it would then hold….I compost the grounds and recycle the foil top myself…

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