Coffee and Recycling

You might say the best part of waking up is a tasty cup of coffee and the Recycle BC team agrees – as long as recycling is part of your daily routine.

Coffee is a staple in many homes which can add more packaging to your recycling count for the week. Even if you’re dedicated to home brewing to reduce waste, you’ll eventually have some packaging left over. Let’s review the most common packaging related to coffee consumption and how you can divert it from the garbage.

Coffee Beans and Ground Coffee

coffee tin with foil lid open

Ground coffee quite often comes in a hard container made from either plastic, metal, glass, or even spiral wound paper, making recycling easy. Plastic, metal and spiral wound containers (and their lids) go in your blue box after they’re emptied and rinsed to remove any leftover coffee. If you receive curbside collection for glass, then put your clean coffee jars in that bin, otherwise you’ll need to return them to a depot. Don’t forget that plastic or metal lids from glass containers go in your blue box!

coffee pouch

If your coffee of choice is packaging in plastic pouch, no need to worry – we have a spot for those too. This type of material is collected with Flexible Plastics at Recycle BC depots or London Drugs.

The same rules for cleaning apply – empty and rinse. If the pouch is made with layers of plastic and paper, however, it’s not accepted. The layers can’t be effectively separated and will cause recycling contamination.

Coffee Pods and Capsules

Keurig coffee pods in kitchen

For many people, popping a coffee pod into their coffee maker is the kickstart to their morning. These containers are also recyclable which is welcome news if you need your coffee on the go. Like other plastic or metal containers, these can be recycled in your blue box after you peel off the lid, and empty the grounds (preferably into compost). A quick rinse helps to remove any leftovers. There are videos on YouTube from avid coffee drinkers showing their cleaning method if you’re keen to see an example. Our advice? Whatever works best for you and gets the grounds out of the pod is fine by us.

Coffee Cups

plastic coffee cup with dome lid coffee cup with paper sleeve

These are old favourites of your blue box, but we would be remiss if we didn’t mention them. While coffee cups look and sometimes feel like paper, they should be recycled with containers along with plastic lids; the paper sleeve goes with your paper recycling. If you’re feeling sweet and order a drink that’s served in a plastic to-go cup with a dome lid, those can also recycled in the blue box, but you may need to rinse those out.

Whether you’ve embraced the modernity of a coffee pod or stick to the old school method of brewing at home, Recycle BC can help ensure your coffee packaging doesn’t end up in landfill. You might say, “don’t talk to me until I’ve had my coffee,” but we say, “don’t talk to me until you’ve recycled your coffee pods!”

Find a full list of recyclable material on our website or download our app. Use our depot locator, online or in the app, to find Recycle BC depot locations near you.