Keurig Dr Pepper said it has achieved a longstanding sustainability goal; having its entire line K-Cup pods able to be recycled.
According to the company, the effort involved converting more than 100 manufacturing lines to produce pods made from polypropylene #5 plastic. The packaging for the recyclable K-Cup pods features a green recyclable flag as well as the How2Recycle label that communicates recycling instructions to consumers.
“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.
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.
To ensure pods could be successfully recovered in recycling facility streams, in 2016 KDP began 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 which was further validated by the Association of Plastic Recyclers.
“Designing recyclable coffee pods is just one important step in our journey to make the Keurig brewing system more sustainable,” Oxender said. “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 United States and Canada in support of a circular economy.”