Kuerig K-cups; How To Recycle Them Using Your Own Favorite Coffees

Save money, protect the enviroment, and get better coffee than you do with the Kuerig k-cup adapter!!

My wife Elly and I love the convenience of our Kuerig coffee machine, and we love the fact that it's lasted longer than any other coffee machine that we've owned.

The problem is that buying the k-cups that the machine is designed to use is expensive, as the k-cups generally run about $.50 apiece.

The alternative to buying k-cups used to be to buy the Kuerig adapter designed to let you use your own coffees. (The problem with this is that the adapters do not allow you to use enough coffee to get good flavor.)

Try recycling the k-cups that you buy!! It takes about 30 sec. to clean the cups to get them ready for reuse, and about 30 sec. to fill the cups with your own favorite coffee, recover them and crimp the aluminum foil covers!!

Cleaned and dried k - cups
Cleaned and dried k - cups

Step # 1 - Clean the used k-cups.

Simply tear off the cover on the cups, wash them and set them aside to dry.

Hold the used k-cups over a waste basked, tear off the covers, dump the used coffee grounds into the basket, and tap the cups against the side of the basket to get rid of any stuck on grounds.

Using a kitchen sink sprayer and hot water, quickly spray the inside of the k-cup, until all the grounds stuck to the sides and bottom are removed.

Set the cleaned k-cups aside overnight to dry.

3" x 3" aluminun foil covers
3" x 3" aluminun foil covers

Step # 2 - Cutting Aluminum Foil Covers

When cutting aluminum foil covers for the k-cups, do as many as you can, so you don't have to do them as often!!

To make the aluminum foil covers, simply cut 3" squares, which will crimp easily, with little wasted foil.

Cut several at a time, so that when it's time to have a cup of coffee, you have some squares made ahead of time, and the whole process goes quickly!! (Approx. 15 - 30 sec. per cup!!)

A properly filled k - cup
A properly filled k - cup

Step # 3 - Filling The K - Cups

If possible, find a spoon or scoop that fills the k - cups as fully as you want each time.

I like a little more intensely flavored coffee, so I grind my beans finer than for a coffee brewer, and fill the cleaned and dried k - cups to about 1/16" from the top.

I have a scoop that gives this amount each time, so the process is relatively quick and very easy.

(Use your favorite blend, find a grind that gives you the flavor intensity that you like, and you'll be amazed at how delicious your coffee can be!!)

My current favorite coffee for my refilled Kuerig K-cups is the Starbuck's French Roast, which I buy in 3 lb. bags, in bean form, at Costcos, and grind myself. (It is a wonderful, smokey, full bodied dark roast, with tons of flavor!!) (The cost works out to about $.12 per cup, which is a far cry from the $.50 sale pricing for the pre-packaged K - cups!!)

A covered and crimped reused k - cup
A covered and crimped reused k - cup

Step # 4 - Covering And Crimping The K - Cups.

This is such an easy process that we don't bother making up k - cups ahead of time. We make them as we use them!!

Once you have your preferred amount of your favorite coffee in the k - cups, simply center one of your 3" X 3" pre - cut aluminum foli covers over the k - cup, encircle the cup with your fingers, and push your fingers down, surrounding the cup with the cover.

Now, using your fingers, push the excess aluminum foil upwards towards the rim of the cup, to create a uniform seal around the cup. (As I mentioned in the module about cutting the aluminum foil covers, the whole process of completing a refilled K-cup, from start, to brewing your cup of coffee, will take no more that 15 - 30 secs.)

Insert the k - cup into your machine as usual, and within seconds you will have a delicious cup of coffee at a fraction of the cost of a factory made k - cup!!

* Note: We've Tried 3 Different Refillable Replacement K- Cup Substitutes With No Success

In an attempt to find a refillable k-cup substitute that would allow us to to simply refill it and close a lid, we've tried 3 different variations, with very little success.

The problem that each refillable cup has had, is that they didn't produce a cup of coffee with any flavor to it. (I think that the reason is partly that they don't hold enough coffee, and also that the water runs through them too quickly.)

Ultimately, we keep going back to refilling and recrimping our factory k-cups, and have 3 refillable k-cup substitutes sitting unused in our cabinet!!

Please Give Us Our Comments And Opinions

We love constructive comments and suggestions about any of the lenses that we have done. They are what help us become more successful!!

We particularly love suggestions that are somewhat outside the box.

Glenn Conant

Please Tell Us What You Think!! - Your comments and suggestions are what make us successful!!. 30 comments

Missy 2 years ago

We have just received the 2.0 and the reusable cups that can be purchased for the old machine does not fit and it will only use the printed rim cups. Will this hack work for the 2.o?

irene 22 months ago

How many times can you do this with recycle Kcup?

Yvonne 22 months ago

Don't throw coffee away. Save it for your rose bushes or other acid

loving plants,.

Also coffee grounds can be used for scrubbing your hands. Makes

them soft.

Laura 22 months ago

For the new 2.0 machine, peel the label off the top cup and use a piece of tape to secure this cover over the refilled cup or other cups. The machine is reading the outside circle only. I hope this makes sense.

Glenn Co profile image

Glenn Co 22 months ago from Greater Burlington, Vt Author


I believe that this idea will work for the new 2.0 although I'm not positive.


Glenn Co profile image

Glenn Co 22 months ago from Greater Burlington, Vt Author


I've reused the K-cups up to 7 or 8 times consistently, with no adverse effects.


Scott 22 months ago

Can they be recycled with soda and other recyclables

Steph Kajpust profile image

Steph Kajpust 22 months ago from Dollar Bay, Michigan

What about the hole at the bottom of the cups? Do the coffee grounds not come out?

Kristy 22 months ago

Or you could buy the reusable filter. :) (cool idea though)

Dawn 22 months ago

My ? As well what about the bottom hole

Mark 22 months ago

When you are done with the k-cup for the first time. Take the paper cover off dump out the coffee rinse the cup and let it dry. The coffee does not come out of the bottom because the filter is still in there. I have been doing this for years. The only time I buy new ones is when I find a good deal. Wegmans just had store brand coffee for $24 for a case of 72.

Brenda Neuls profile image

Brenda Neuls 22 months ago

For those with the new Keurig 2.0, instead of taping old k-cup covers to your cups, you can order a free "freedom clip" here...

I ordered mine last week. I don't work for this company, I just wanted to share the info.

21 months ago

We recycle ours the best we can. Like many other packaging such as Styrofoam cups and trays, not everything is able to be recycled. At least not where we live.

Also more companies are attempting to create less unrecylable cups.

We have the pc cups and they are all in an aluminum foil bag. So while not recyclable but assuming reusable.

The tinfoil cover is small and then there is minimum plastic framework that's recyclable.

The rest is coffee filter and grinds.both can be compostable if you have one.

Glenn Co profile image

Glenn Co 21 months ago from Greater Burlington, Vt Author

I have tried a couple of different replacement cups / filters, and didn't keep either one. They didn't hold enough coffee to produce a flavorful cup of coffee, so it was back to refilling my own.


JubiLee 20 months ago is apparently a site that has some solutions as well for the 2.0 machines that require an electronic signal from the cup top cover...doesn't sound difficult to override. I appreciate the info on your site tho' Glenn...thx much!

Jean 20 months ago

ordered and received freedom clip. Used twice, now won't stay clipped. Falls off. I don't like my 2.0 much. It's very loud and I am annoyed I'm unable to use the refillable basket from my old Keurig.

Nathalie 20 months ago

This will only work for older keurig machines. the new ones read the pod so if you are using this recycle method your 2.0 machine won't work properly

anndee 20 months ago

now you have to waste foil to do this. Just get a refillable filter instead. no waste.

Confused 20 months ago

Am I the only one who realizes that this is basically the process for a NORMAL coffee maker? So why support a wasteful endeavor (and I assume the cups can't be reused forever)...

Bobbi Penniman 20 months ago

There is a metal lid (bought a set of 4 from Amazon) that fits over the K-cups so no aluminum foil is needed. I can re use a K-cup a dozen times before the filter finally wears out. The trick is, line the drain hole up each time - just wiggle it until it drops into place - so you don't keep making a new hole in the K-cup. If you do, the coffee will drain too fast making a weaker cup than you might like.

Karen 20 months ago

I use the CAFE CUPS made by as seen on TV and I love them!!! You get four in a pkg for $9.99. So easy to use and last forever. Very durable. I don't like really strong coffee and most of the k cups are made to be very strong. Hope this helps.

Mary 19 months ago

I have the 2.0 Keurig and you can't re-use those. The coffee maker needs to "see" a picture of the carafe (the little circle) in order to start making the coffee. Bummer! Otherwise, I love your idea!

Nancy 19 months ago

In Keurig 2.0 coffee makers, You can cut a small triangle of a k-cup with a white rim (this is important) and lay it over any k-kup edge before closing the machine lid. The computer reads the white rim with the keurig logo and it will make the cup of coffee.

Moustache 19 months ago

translate it from French ...

J'ai une machine Keurig à la maison et j'ai un adapteur que tu mets dans la machine qui the permet d'utiliser un cup que tu remplis a la main pas besoin d'acheter de k-cup juste a remplir le petit cup avec la sorte de café tu a envie

Paul 16 months ago

I have done this many times. I did buy plastic covers for the used Kcup containers that works great, they fit very snugly, and also found that if you grind the coffee in a grinder to a finer grind works great. Make sure you line up bottom hole to the pin on machine.

Brandy 6 months ago

How can you reuse the kcups after they are used they have a hole in the bottom

Candice 6 months ago

There is a little coffee filter inside each cup that suspends the grounds away from the bottom of the cup. If that wasn't there you would always have grounds in your coffee, not just when using a recycled cup. So the little hole in the bottom won't stop you from being able to refill and reuse your cups.

Ginny 5 months ago

I love this, I have had the same problem now you have solved it. THANKS!!!!

Kelly 5 months ago

We love our new Kuerig but like you say the cups are expensive. For me some are too strong. I like the reliable one but I almost threw it away. I'd rather reuse the cups. This is a great idea. Thank you. I will try this.

Glenn Co 5 months ago

Pick your favorite coffee, and enjoy it at a fraction of what the pre - packaged K-cups go for.

I was surprised to see that a lot of pre - packaged K-cups are now around $.75 ea., as opposed to the $.05 it costs to do your own. . . . And it keeps the K-cups out in use a lot longer.

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