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Sustainability

Creating Sustainable Products

We take pride in the fact that our products are an enjoyable part of the daily routines of millions of people. And we know that for our beverages and brewing systems to be truly satisfying — for our customers and consumers as well as for us as a company — we need to continually improve the environmental performance of our products.   

We believe that our products can be designed, sourced, and manufactured in ways that are good for people and good for the environment. We are dedicated to creating high-quality products that are more sustainable.

From the design of our brewers and the cultivation of coffee and tea, all the way through end-of-life disposal, our aim is to understand our impacts and leave communities and people better off as the result of our business. We are innovating across our value chain — from offering recycling programs to developing recyclable portion packs and addressing the environmental impact of our operations. In addition, we’ve undertaken greenhouse gas and water footprinting studies to better understand our overall impact, and we’re developing partnerships across industries to address broader issues such as packaging and waste.

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Our Value Chain

EXPLORE
Cultivation & Processing
Product Packaging
Operations
Brewer Supply Chain
Distribution
Consumption/Use
End of Life

There are seven basic stages in our value chain related to coffee and brewing systems. From the cultivation of coffee beans to brewing the perfect cup of coffee to end-of-life disposal, we seek to understand the impacts of our business and collaborate with others to make meaningful and lasting contributions to solving social and environmental challenges.

Materials produced for product packaging
Materials shipped to Keurig Green Mountain headquarters

Recyclable Materials
Our Vue®, K-Carafe™, and Bolt® packs feature a base cup made from polypropylene #5 plastic, which is accepted for recycling in the majority of communities in the United States and Canada.

Product Packaging

Plastic cups, filter paper, and other materials for packaging our portion packs come from a network of suppliers in countries including Canada, Colombia, Mexico, the Philippines, the United States, and the United Kingdom. These packaging materials have upstream impacts resulting from the energy and water used to make them as well as the fuel used to transport the materials to our facilities.

Our Footprint
Our operations — including offices and roasting and packaging facilities — represent just 2.5% of our greenhouse gas footprint and less than 1% of our blue water footprint (surface or groundwater consumed).

Operations

When green coffee arrives at our facilities, we roast, grind, and package it. We have established an infrastructure to track the energy requirements of our roasting and packaging operations in a new way that provides data that is more useful for monitoring energy use and helping employees run equipment more efficiently. We also mitigate the impact of direct energy use by purchasing renewable energy credits.

Responsible, Quality Products
We work closely with the contract manufacturers that build our Keurig® brewers on issues related to our Responsible Sourcing Supplier Guidelines, product quality, and new manufacturing technologies.

Brewer supply chain

Keurig® brewers are built by contract manufacturers in factories in China and Malaysia. The manufacturing process requires energy and water to create the raw materials, assemble, and package the brewers. Energy is also used to transport raw materials to the manufacturers and finished goods to our distribution centers.

Transportation
By reconfiguring the pallets we ship between our plants and distribution centers, we have increased the number of K-Cup® packs we can fit on each truck by 23%. This helps us reduce the number of truckloads necessary to transport the same amount of product.

Distribution

After packaging, coffee is stored in a warehouse before being distributed. Environmental impacts of this stage include the energy use of warehouses and retail locations as well as fuel to transport the coffee to its destination and to transport consumers to retail locations.

Single-Cup Brewing
When considering the water required to grow, process, and brew the coffee beans for an 8 oz. cup of coffee, brewing only one beverage at a time as needed with the Keurig® hot platform could save about 6.6 gallons of water over making a full pot of coffee.*

Consumption/Use

Brewing a K-Cup® pack requires energy and water. However, when it comes to limiting coffee waste, single-cup brewing may minimize negative value chain impacts. About 12% to 15% of brewed batch coffee is thrown away without being served,** wasting resources used from cultivation to brewing.
*Chapagain, A.K., and Hoekstra, A.Y. (2007) The water footprint of coffee and tea consumption in the Netherlands, Ecological Economics 64(1): 109-118.
**Keurig/Godfrey Study Waste Coffee, May 2009.

2020 target:
100%
recyclable
K-Cup® pack

Recovery Programs
We offer programs for responsible disposal of K-Cup® packs as well as a Brewer Returns program and recovery options for our recyclable portion packs, including our Vue®, K-Carafe, and Bolt® packs.

End-Of-Life

Once a portion pack is used, the packaging and grounds must be disposed of. Three out of the four portion packs currently offered for use in Keurig® single cup brewers are recyclable. We are working to design a K-Cup® pack that can be easily separated and readily recycled, and we’re collaborating with recyclers and other partners to ensure the K-Cup® packs will be effectively recycled in the majority of community recycling programs.


To demonstrate our commitment, we set three bold targets, which we plan to achieve by 2020: 

  • 100% of K-Cup® packs will be recyclable. 
  • Reduce life-cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of brewed beverages by 25% versus a 2012 baseline. 
  • Achieve zero waste-to-landfill at our owned and operated manufacturing and distribution facilities.

As Keurig® beverage systems continue to grow in popularity, addressing their environmental impact, while continuing to deliver extraordinary beverages, is a critical priority for us. This is particularly true as we work to make 100% of K-Cup packs recyclable. To meet our 2020 target, we’re evaluating product development solutions and working with the recycling community and partners to ensure that our new K-Cup® pack design isn’t just recyclable in theory, but will also be able to be effectively recycled in the majority of community programs. Read more on our progress in the Reducing Product Waste section.

We strive to use resources efficiently in our operations and reduce our environmental impacts by focusing on energy use, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and waste diversion. Read more on this work within the Our Operations section.