The coffee grounds inside Keurig® K-Cup® pods brew delicious cups of coffee, but that’s not all they’re good for. Because of the rich nitrogen content in coffee beans, K-Cup® pods are also ideal for composting.

Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of composting coffee grounds, as well as how to separate your coffee pods and remove the compostable materials.

What is Involved When Composting Coffee?

Composting is a practice in which carbon-rich waste is transformed into humus, the organic component of soil. The process is usually completed naturally and may be as simple or complex as you want to make it. For example, you may want to use a specially designed composting bin, or you might opt to bury organic waste in the corner of your garden.

While you can compost almost anything that’s carbon-based, coffee pods are particularly good candidates. Not only do the paper and coffee grounds decompose easily, but the pods also enhance the quality of the soil by adding nitrogen. And while most composted soil is rich in nutrients, the addition of nitrogen from coffee is especially beneficial for a variety of plants. In fact, many farmers will visit coffee shops to pick up discarded grounds to use as fertilizer!

Are there Compostable K-Cup® pods?

While there are a few compostable coffee pod varieties on the market, these products are hard to find and may not be readily available at all times. Additionally, certain compostable coffee pods must be disposed of in commercial facilities, meaning that they aren’t useful for at-home composting piles. Luckily, you can still compost the organic materials from your regular K-Cups® pods as long as you know how to separate the pod properly.

Why Is it Important to Compost the Biodegradable Components in Your K-Cup® pods?

As beneficial as the used grounds in coffee pods are for a personal garden, the importance of composting K-Cups® pods biodegradable components extends well beyond the borders of a local flower or vegetable patch. For one, composting the coffee grounds and paper filters inside is an essential step in recycling Keurig® K-Cup® pods. The aluminum foil and plastic used to make these cups are both recyclable materials, but recycling plants aren’t equipped to dispose of the paper and coffee grounds. Therefore, the organic materials must be removed to ensure proper and efficient recycling of the inorganic components.

Composting your K-Cup® pods biodegradable components also completes the environmentally friendly lifecycle that these products can have. Despite their construction, K-Cup® pods can be an eco-conscious way to drink coffee, as they reduce waste at growing and processing sites. However, to ensure your pods don’t end up in landfills or local waterways, you must dispose of them properly.

How Do You Create a Compost Pile for Coffee Grounds?

Because coffee grounds break down so easily, composting them is about as simple as throwing something in the garbage. Rather than tossing them in the trash, however, you must put the paper filter and grounds in the corner of your lawn or garden. Simply pile them up, and nature will soon break them down. You may want to mix them around periodically if you drink a large amount of coffee or are also composting other scraps.

Alternatively, you can compost your coffee grounds indoors if you live in an apartment or condominium without a yard. All you need is a plastic container and some red wigglers (an effective composting worm), which can be ordered online. Put the worms into the container and add anything you want to compost. The best part? Once you set up this at-home composting system, there’s little to no ongoing maintenance!

How Do You Separate K-Cup® pods?

Before you can begin composting your leftover coffee grounds, you’ll need to separate your K-Cup® pods. This process may seem time-consuming at first, but with the Recycle A Cup® cutter, it only takes a few seconds. Just place the cutter on your pod and complete one full revolution. This cuts the top off of the pod, leaving you with three separate components – the plastic cup, the aluminum top, and the organic materials inside.

Ready to enhance the eco-friendliness of your morning brew? Contact Recycle A Cup® for more information about our products or to place an order!