Keurig Dr Pepper achieves longstanding sustainability commitment to make 100% of its K-Cup Pods recyclable

Keurig Dr Pepper achieves longstanding sustainability commitment to make 100% of its K-Cup Pods recyclable

December 8, 2020
Press Release: Keurig Dr Pepper

Keurig Dr Pepper (KDP) has announced that it has successfully achieved one of its longstanding sustainability commitments – all of the K-Cup pods the company produces are now recyclable

The extensive effort involved converting more than 100 manufacturing lines to produce the pods now made from polypropylene #5 plastic. In addition, new packaging for the recyclable K-Cup pods features a green recyclable flag as well as the industry-respected How2Recycle label that clearly communicates recycling instructions to consumers.

Keurig Dr Pepper produces approximately 80% of the coffee pods sold at retail for use in Keurig brewers and, earlier this year, began shipping to retailers the new recyclable format, which is now largely transitioned on retail shelves.

“It’s an exciting day for KDP and our partners as we complete this multi-year journey that required intensive product development, significant capital investment and expansive industry engagement,” said Monique Oxender, chief sustainability officer at Keurig Dr Pepper.

To ensure pods could be successfully recovered in recycling facility streams, in 2016 KDP pioneered testing using RFID technology to track tens of thousands of K-Cup pods in various recycling facilities across North America. Those tests demonstrated that K-Cup pods were able to successfully pass through the stream with other recyclables to be further sorted with containers, a finding that was further validated by the Association of Plastic Recyclers.

In addition to converting 100% of K-Cup pods to the new recyclable format, KDP has intensified its efforts to ensure that recycling facilities across the USA have the capability to recycle polypropylene. Earlier this year, with a US$10 million commitment, KDP became a founding member and the largest funder of The Recycling Partnership’s Polypropylene Recycling Coalition, a collaborative of 18 organizations, including fellow steering committee members Braskem, the Walmart Foundation and the NextGen Consortium, dedicated to increasing the quantity and quality of polypropylene recycling in the USA.

The Coalition has also just announced the recipients of its first four grants – Materials Recovery Facilities in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio – to improve and increase sortation of polypropylene and support targeted consumer education efforts to increase collection of this valuable material. These grants will widen total nationwide acceptance of polypropylene in curbside recycling programs by approximately 1.7% to an additional four million people, resulting in the recovery of a larger supply of polypropylene that could be made into new products such as consumer packaging and automotive parts.

“Designing recyclable coffee pods is just one important step in our journey to make the Keurig brewing system more sustainable,” said Oxender. “Our work continues to minimize our overall plastic footprint while we play a leadership role in cross-industry collaborations for critical recycling infrastructure improvements across the USA and Canada in support of a circular economy.”

KDP is also a principal member of World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) ReSource: Plastic activation hub, a first-of-its-kind effort to quantify corporate impact and track company actions and opportunities to reduce plastic waste. “We developed ReSource: Plastic to help companies turn their plastic waste commitments into action, and that’s exactly what Keurig Dr Pepper has done with today’s announcement,” concluded Erin Simon, WWF’s head of plastic waste and business. “Access to recyclable content is essential if we’re going to build a larger plastic waste management system. Investing in polypropylene is a positive step toward building a system where materials can be successfully recovered.”

Plastic Free World Conference & Expo 2021 will be co-located with The Greener Manufacturing Show and will take place at Cologne Messe, Germany, on Wednesday 16 June and Thursday 17 June 2021. Registrations for this highly focused, solutions-driven event will open in early 2021. For sponsorship and exhibition opportunities, please email

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