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A Change Is Brewing: Keurig’s Plastic-Free Coffee Pods

Mar 25, 2024 | Food
A Keurig machine that uses podless pods

Source Summary

Keurig Dr. Pepper Inc., in partnership with Delica, the creators of the fully-compostable “coffee ball” CoffeeB, has just unveiled K-Round, a plant-based compostable coffee pod that aims to replace its plastic counterpart. The companies teamed up to design a new pod that is both eco-friendly and efficient. The coffee grounds are formed into a puck shape that is held together by a seaweed coating. Each pod is stamped with a BrewID that allows the brewing system to scan and detect the type of coffee to optimize each brew. To accommodate this pod format, Keurig introduced a new brewing machine called Atla—which is compatible with both the K-Rounds and traditional single-use plastic pods.

The coffee industry needs new ways to reduce its massive environmental footprint, a plastic avalanche of more than 63 billion coffee pods per year, adding up to more than 100,000 tons of waste. Keurig’s share of that avalanche is substantial: It is estimated that over 21 billion K-Cups (Keurig’s single-use plastic cups) are not recycled and go to landfills each year. If Keurig can roll out the 100% compostable K-Round at scale, the company can gradually reduce this number. While Atla brewing machines will maintain backward compatibility with the traditional K-Cup, we predict that K-Rounds will slowly but surely completely replace them as their popularity grows. Keurig’s innovation means that coffee drinkers may no longer need to choose between convenience and sustainability.