Keurig Just Announced a Major Change Coming to Your Morning Coffee (It’s Eco-Friendly!)

published Mar 19, 2024
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

I’ve never been the biggest fan of Keurig coffee machines. Yes, they are superconvenient and allow you to brew just one cup of whatever beverage you choose. But they create so much waste with each plastic pod. Plus, the pods are difficult to recycle so they just end up adding to our ever-growing plastic pollution problem. Granted, they do sell a refillable pod where you pack the grounds yourself, but that kind of defeats the whole convenience factor. 

My colleague Quinn Fish, cleaning and organizing editor at The Kitchn, shares the same feelings. “It’s nice that you can easily make single servings in a snap, but the amount of plastic waste produced is really a turn-off. I’ve tried using the refillable pods, but even those feel like a lot of work. Compostable pods would definitely entice me to revisit my semiretired Keurig coffee maker — the less waste, the better.” And trust me, we’re not the only ones.

Credit: Alexandra Foster

Well it seems that Keurig Dr Pepper has been listening and finally developed a sustainable solution. At a recent press briefing, Keurig announced that it is introducing K-Rounds: plastic-free pods made from a proprietary plant-based coating. The goal is for these pods to be compostable as well, with the certification process still in the works. 

Credit: Alexandra Foster

Similar to the way baristas tamper down espresso, the coffee is pressed and compacted to hold itself together, therefore eliminating the need for plastic or aluminum packaging. The pods will be available in multiple varieties: a single shot of espresso, double shot of espresso, regular coffee, and iced coffee. Each pod will have a specific code on it that the machine will read to brew the beverage to the exact settings needed without the consumer having to press any additional buttons. After you’re finished brewing, the pod compacts down and can be thrown away. 

One caveat is that these plant-based pods only work with the new Keurig Alta brewing system, which was also unveiled at the same time. The Keurig Alta system is designed to make both cold and hot beverages of the same quality you’d find at a coffee shop in just minutes. The standard Keurig pods are also compatible with this new system. 

Credit: Alexandra Foster

“Thirty years ago, Keurig changed the way consumers brewed coffee with the introduction of the K-Cup pod single serve coffee system.,” Keurig Chairman and CEO Bob Gamgort says in a statement. “Today, we are applying all our expertise to create a revolutionary new system that … reflects our commitment to providing variety, quality, value, and sustainability.”

One drawback is you’ll have to wait a bit to experience these eco-friendly pods. Beta testing of the new Keurig Alta system (with consumer input) is expected to start in fall 2024, so the pods likely won’t be released to consumers until 2025. 

Sign up here if you’re interested in receiving more information and want to be the first to know when they are available for purchase. Regardless, I think it’s a huge environmental win and a step in the right direction. Maybe other brewing systems will follow suit.