Coffee Pods


Eliminate pods

Choose coffee machines that don’t require individual pods. Opt for more traditional machines that accept beans or ground coffee as a lower-waste alternative. 


For restaurant service: 

Choose reusable pods and train your staff on how to wash and reuse them as needed.

For self-service: 

Offer thermoses for guests and employees to refill their own containers from. 

Offer reusable pods and clean after each use.

COVID Tip – Design for contact-less refills.

COVID Tip: Separate clean and dirty pods with well-marked trays or containers. If reusables are not applicable, choose disposable options compatible with available waste management infrastructure. 


When reusables are not applicable, choose disposable options that are compatible with available waste management infrastructure.

Assessing your options

Check the labels and certifications to confirm if pods are home compostable or commercially compostable. 

There are recyclable pod options made out of aluminum; however, many of these have multiple layers and materials making them not widely recyclable. Confirm with the manufacturer and with your waste management partner or municipality whether these options work in your area. 

Commercially compostable pods

Commercially compostable pods can be a solution if the waste is collected and sorted by your staff and then managed by a waste hauler that can handle commercial composting. 

This can work in BOH service if your staff are handling the pods and can be trained to properly sort the compostable waste. 

This can also work if offered in guest rooms and your staff are able to collect and sort waste properly. 

Warning: This does not work in a grab & go restaurant setup where guests are likely to throw the pods in the trash if given the option. 


There are company-driven recycling programs that require you to ship collected pods back to the manufacturer for recycling. These programs come with major material and carbon footprint costs associated with the shipping, which nearly outweigh the benefits. View this as a last resort option.