An Eco-Friendly K-Cup? OneCoffee Cup Is 92% Biodegradable

Ahhhh it’s Saturday. Had your coffee yet? In recent years, single-serving coffee pots have become all the rage. Simply select your roast, pop the K-Cup (a plastic container with a coffee filter inside) into the machine, and hit brew. About a minute later, you’ve got a piping hot cup of joe, and there’s no filter or carafe to clean.

There is the question of what to do with that little plastic cup, however. Keurig, the company that first brought the K-Cup to market, has struggled to convince customers that convenience is a worthy justification for all the plastic waste they’ll create. Now, a Canadian company called Canterbury Coffee may have beat them to a green solution. The OneCoffee Cup uses 40 percent less plastic than the K-Cup, and according to the creators, is almost entirely biodegradable.

canterbury coffee onecoffee cup

Image via Canterbury Coffee

So what makes the OneCoffee cup so much greener? Well, according to Waste Recycling News, “it doesn’t have a hard shell like traditional K-Cups — and the hard plastic ring uses a support structure that will compost in an anaerobic environment.”

Unlike K-Cups, the OneCoffee is made of polylactic acid resin which will degrade in any type of moist environment, from a home composting bin to a landfill or anaerobic digester. “The only part of the cup that is not biodegradable is the nylon filter. Canterbury says it’s working on substituting it with a biodegradable alternative such as polyethylene furanoate,” reports Environmental Leader.

I’ve had especially deep-green friends save their K-Cups in a pile, taking them apart by hand so as to be able to recycle the bits that are acceptable under single stream recycling laws. This extra chore isn’t necessary with OneCoffee cups, however. “Consumers don’t have to clean or disassemble the cups, just throw them away. The cups will break down in an industrial composter — the first step for most garbage collected in Canada’s municipal waste streams — or in a regular landfill environment,” the company’s senior marketing manager Derek Perkins told Waste Recycling News.

Beth Buczynski is a freelancer writer and editor currently living in the Rocky Mountain West. Her articles appear on Care2, Ecosalon and Inhabitat, just to name a few. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog


  • Reply October 8, 2013

    Roxy Jones

    That is really cool! Thanks for sharing that! The other K-Cups are supposed to be “eco friendly” too. I found an article that suggests that at least, lol. What do you think?

  • Reply January 19, 2014


    infintely superior to regular k cups but still infintely inferior (both
    in waste standpoint and cost) to a permanent reusable filter. it takes
    seconds to dump the grounds down the disposal or int he trash, and rinse
    briefly under running water. waste is waste, they still get
    manufactured which uses massive resources, and they still get landfilled
    whih takes up space (in most communities landfill is still the waste
    disposal method). the best is reulsable of anything. still cardboard is
    much better than plastic. but – “uses 40% less plastic” is not that
    impressive. it still uses well over half the plastic in a conventional k
    cup. so this is greenwashing if you ask me. what is so hard about
    rinsing a tiny single serve metal filter?

  • Reply January 19, 2014


    and your deep green friends are already taking more time prepping for recycling than they would be dealing with a permanent filter. recycling of plastic is good but the original plastic is a polluting resource to manufacture and even is polluting in recycling (tho less than new) and much of the recycled plastic does not get used. did
    you know that the keurig is one of the worst thing you can do for the
    environment and for YOUR bottom line? for way less money and to feel
    GOOD about your eco footprint, get a permanent replacement filter for
    about 8 bucks. available at bix box hardwawre stroes, grocers, and

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