British Columbia·Video

Keurig K-Cups now recyclable in Metro Vancouver, if you do the work

Residents of Metro Vancouver are now able to recycle their K-Cup single-use coffee pods, but it's not as simple as tossing them straight in the blue bin.

Single-use coffee pods are now included in some municipal recycling guidelines

K-Cups may be convenient, but they create a lot of waste. (CBC)

Residents of Metro Vancouver are now able to recycle their K-Cup single-use coffee pods, but it's not going to be as simple as tossing them straight in the blue bin.

The popular K-Cup coffee pods have faced a lot of consumer backlash and shaming on social media because of the amount of waste they create, with the creator even saying he regretted inventing them.

Now the single-use coffee pods are included in the list of new recyclable materials in the expanded recycling program according to Vancouver's waste management director Albert Shamess.

But before consumers can be relieved of their guilt, they'll need to disassemble and clean the pod into three separate parts.

"The key with that is the lids — the foil topping — has to be taken off and disposed in the garbage, and the coffee grounds should be put in the green bin before the pods are put into the blue box," said Shamess.

Likewise disposable paper coffee cups and their plastic lids are also now recyclable in the blue box, if they are empty.

Regional variations

The changes, which actually came into effect last year, are being promoted by the City of Vancouver along with the distribution of the new grey boxes for glass recycling.

The new guidelines are part of the expanded regional waste management program, but perhaps because of the work involved, not all municipal guidelines spell out specifically that the coffee pods can be recycled.

As part of the program, households in the City of Vancouver are also getting new grey boxes to separate glass from other recyclables in order to stop it from contaminating other recyclable products.

Other new items that can go in the blue box include TetraPaks, Pringles spiral wound paper cans, frozen dessert containers and empty non-paint aerosol cans.

And the blue bags for newspaper are being phased out and all kinds of paper will go into a single yellow bag.

Because each city in the region is responsible for its own curbside programs, some of these changes have already been rolled out in other Metro Vancouver municipalities, such as West Vancouver.

How to recycle a K-cup properly

CBC's Tina Lovgreen demonstrates how to properly recycle a K-cup. 

How to recycle a K-cup properly

7 years ago
Duration 0:20
It's not as simple as tossing into a blue bin

Files from Ash Kelly and Mike Laanela


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