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K-Cups start piling up in landfills

11:10 AM, Feb 9, 2012   |    comments
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The tiny plastic cups can't be recycled, and folks in the landfill business aren't real happy about it.

At California's Miramar Landfill tons of paper, glass and plastic runs along this conveyor belt, but they don't want any of those coffee capsules.

"There's so much single use material out there that all it does is create more and more waste, " said Recycling Services Plant Manager Jose Menera.

It's the type of waste that needs to be thrown away, sent to the landfill and not put in the recycling bin.

"The speed of the conveyor is going to be very difficult to find a small item like that, to sort that material," said Jose Ysea with San Diego County Waste Management.

The plastic cups themselves could be recycled, but there's more to these capsules than meet the eye.

The plastic cup is lined with a heat-sealed paper filter and topped with a lined aluminum foil top.

"When they're all fused together they create a problem for the sorting facilities," Ysea said.

People could remove the filter and aluminum foil from each of the K-Cups and take them to the recycling center by the Miramar Landfill. They could recycle the plastic, but don't put it in the curbside blue bin.

County recycling workers would kick it out, not knowing you'd done all that work. Keurig is aware of the problem, and on its website say it's looking for greener alternatives.

But in the meantime, the convenience of that little cup of coffee will mean more waste in local landfills.

(Copyright © 2012 NBC Universal, All Rights Reserved)

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