Recycling Dilemma #1007 K-Cups: How to stay caffeinated, sustainably

In 2013, roughly 10 billion Keurig brand coffee pods were sold. Popularity of single serving coffee makers has grown since then and manufacturers of pods are hesitant to reveal how many are sold annually. It is estimated that the amount of coffee pods, or K-Cups, in landfills could wrap around the planet 10 times! (The Story of Stuff) Imagine all the wasted coffee grounds that could be composted and all the aluminum and plastic could have been recycled into new products.

We love the convenience of coffee pods, but it comes with a cost: coffee pods cannot be recycled through our curbside program and are considered a contaminant. While some brands label their pods “recyclable” that holds true only in select communities with coffee pod recycling programs.  Currently, those programs are not operating in our region. 

Why cant I recycle them curbside? 

  1. Multiple materials comprise a coffee pod: an aluminum top, paper filter, coffee grounds and a plastic cup. Each material must be separated to be properly recycled, a process too complex for the current technology at standard recycling centers. 
  1. Although our curbside program accepts plastic and aluminum, both the plastic cup and aluminum components are too small to be properly sorted at the recycling facility. Anything smaller than 4 inches by 4 inches (like a post-it note size) falls through a screen and is landfilled with other small contaminants and residue.  

There is a way! 

You can recover your coffee pod aluminum by combining it with other clean aluminum into a ball 4” or larger and place it in your cart.  

Compost the coffee grounds and paper for a great soil additive. 

Take advantage of the one of several mail-in opportunities. These services separate the plastic and aluminum for recycling and the coffee and filter for composting. Check with the coffee pod maker for a free mail-in program. Terracycle, Recycle A Cup, and Grounds to Grow On also provide this service. 

Reduce your use 

If you’re ready to kick the single-use habit and reduce waste

Try another brewing method. Some coffee machines are compatible with a refillable K-cup or coffee pod option. French press espresso makers are capable of making smaller quantities of coffee and require no single use materials to brew.  

Check out these recycling tips from previous blogs:   

Questions or comments? Email enviro@thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov 

Recycling Dilemma #1006 – Online Shopping

Shopping from the comfort of your home in your PJs is easy. Deciphering what to do with all the packaging that comes with those fabulous purchases is the hard part. Check out these tips to learn how to dispose of online shopping waste wisely.

Looking for ways to reduce packaging from online purchases? 

  • Try filling your cart throughout the week and combining purchases into one weekly delivery. Choose “Frustration-Free” Packaging to reduce extra boxes. 
  • Consider shopping at stores that use thoughtful packaging materials. As this concept becomes more mainstream, the demand will increase and gain popularity! 
  • Choose ground delivery to reduce air travel. This option can save you a bit of money and also reduces the carbon footprint of your package.  
  • Shop at local businesses and bring your own bag or containers.

Check out these recycling tips from previous blogs:  

Questions or comments? Email enviro@thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov


Textile Recycling Resumes

Simple Recycling will resume service on Monday, April 27, 2020.

This free and EASY service provides residents of The Woodlands Township the option to recycle textiles, shoes and housewares right at the curb.  

Did You Know? 85% of clothing ends up in the landfill! Only 15% gets donated or recycled. We can change that!

It’s Simple!

  1. Use the orange bag that you have at home or request a new one from www.SimpleRecycling.com
  2. Stuff it with clothes, shoes, towels, sheets, rugs and rags. Any condition is fine. Toys, books and housewares accepted, too.
  3. Set the bag out with your trash and recycling carts (no need to call). Your items will be whisked away and a replacement bag will be tied onto your trash or recycling bin.

Consider donating to a charity first. Donation Centers may be closed at this time, but will be in need of your donations when they reopen. But, if the items are headed for the landfill already, why not simply recycle them curbside?  Find a full list of items accepted here.

For more information about the program, please visit www.SimpleRecycling.com or contact The Woodlands Township Environmental Services Department at 281-210-3800.


Questions or comments? Email enviro@thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov

Recycle More At The Store

Plastic bags are not an acceptable material in our curbside recycling carts. Many of us choose to reuse the plastic bags that float into our lives, but did you know that most of your plastic packaging can be recycled at a participating store if it is clean and dry? Look for the receptacle near the entrance.

Recyclable Items to Take to Store Include:

  • Air Pillows and Bubble Wrap
  • Case Wrap, Pallet/Stretch Wrap
  • Newspaper and Magazine Sleeves
  • Bags on Clothing or Electronics
  • Dry Cleaning Bags
  • Bread Bags, Produce Bags, Food Storage Bags
  • Grocery/Retail Bags & Other Film Packages
    (Check for the How2Recycle label)

Learn more about why plastic film doesn’t belong in your curbside bin and should go to the grocery store instead.

For more information about recycling plastic film, you can visit www.plasticfilmrecycling.org.  

For more information about curbside and other recycling opportunities in The Woodlands, please visit www.thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov/recycling.

Questions or comments? Email enviro@thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov


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Regular Trash Schedule on July 4th

PILATES

Residents are reminded that there will be no interruption or delay of solid waste services over the Fourth of July holiday. Waste Management will provide curbside pickup of trash, recycling and yard trimmings to all residents on their regularly scheduled service day, including Wednesday, July 4, 2018.

For a trouble-free pick-up, please place carts at the curb before 7 a.m. on your regular pick-up day. Keep streets clear of parked cars to allow trucks to safely access carts.

Recycling Reminder

More Important Reminders for Residents:

  • Per the Holiday Collection Schedule, the only holidays that will affect residential trash and recycling collection this year (2018) will be Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

To schedule a bulky pick-up or report service issues, please contact Waste Management at 800-800-5804 or e-mail cssatex@wm.com.

For more information about solid waste and recycling services in The Woodlands, please visit the Environmental Services webpages or call 281-210-3800.