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21 Fun And Thrifty Ways To Recycle Your Coffee Pods

Surf and Sunshine / Decoist

My friends will tell you I'm a pretty cheap person, but my one vice is coffee.

Sure, I save here and there by using loyalty cards and buying cheap gift certificates for my favorite brands.

But coffee pods will always be one of the first items on my grocery lists.


That's why I went looking for ways to reuse and recycle those little plastic cups.

Some brands have made their products fully recyclable, but plenty of the big names in the coffee business still use the cups.

If you've just been throwing them out, give one of these 21 creative "upcycling" projects a try.

1. The K-Cup Lantern

K Cup Lanter
Grandmother Wren

You need to save up quite a few coffee pods for this kitschy project, but it's worth the effort.

With a few fairy lights and a little arrangement, the cups actually make a nice lamp that's perfect for hanging outdoors.

It looks just like those funky modern lamps for sale at big box stores, but this version is way cheaper.

2. Crushed Coffee Pod Curtains

Coffee Pods
Upcycle Us

Totally groovy! This retro-inspired design uses squashed Nespresso coffee pods to make a cool barrier between two rooms.

But it would be easy to build something similar with painted K-cups. You could even string on some beads for a true throwback look.

3. Snack Containers For Lunches

Rosso Cafe

I find myself any small container I come across these days, because I can always find a way to use it with my lunches.

You can store some dipping sauce in a coffee pod (be sure to plug up the hole first), or use it to keep small foods tidy in your bag.

4. Refill And Reuse Them

Hey, it works, and I can say from personal experience the coffee tastes just as good.

Coffee Cups
Mommy Musings

Depending on your machine's make and model, you'll need to be a little creative to brew a nice cup.

Most people line up the pod's hole with the machine's spout, and add a layer of foil to the top of their pod, so it will pour correctly.

I know that's a lot of work, but using K-cups to make your own cheap coffee will save you quite a bit. Just don't use the cups more than twice.

5. Card Holders

So Easy Being Green

My family's favorite card game is euchre, and sometimes our games stretch late into the night.

The hours at the table don't feel so long when you have a handy card holder in front of you.

Just flip a K-cup and cut a slit in it. Voila!

6. Pincushion

GeekSideKick - Etsy

Sewers and serious crafters can always use another one of these.

What's handy about a K-cup pincushion is the storage room inside for buttons, needles, and anything else you need.

7. Flip Flop Decorations

K-cup sandals
Shades of Tangerine

Warm weather is here, and odds are last year's flip flops in your closet aren't looking so stylish right now.

A pair of medallions made from K-cups and spare crafting material are an easy way to refurbish any sandals - they cost next to nothing but add just the right amount of flare.

8. Marshmallow Shooters

Marshmallow shooters
These are made from plastic drinking cups, but K-cups work just as well. Whimsy Love

Here's a fun way to entertain your kids or grandkids for hours without spending a dime.

These marshmallow launchers are made from just a K-cup and a balloon, but kids will love chasing each other around the backyard with them.

9. Jello Shots

Jello Shots
Serious Eats

While kids are having fun playing with marshmallow shooters, adults can enjoy their own treats.

It turns out these tiny cups are the perfect size for jello shots. Just make sure to wash them thoroughly and plug up the holes before you fill them in.

10. Storing Craft Supplies

Craft Supplies
So Easy Being Green

There are two big advantages to keeping craft or office supplies in old K-cups:

First, they're the perfect size to hold odds and ends like beads, pom poms, buttons and paper clips.

But they're also convenient because there are all sorts of caddys, drawers and containers designed specifically for K-cups.

Sort the small stuff in these cups and your home will be organized in no time.

11. Outdoor Decorations

Christmas Lights

If you're looking for something simpler than the K-cup lantern, an easy string of fairy lights with cups attached looks nice in any backyard.

You can even use colorful Christmas lights year-round to add a little personality to your lighting. The colors shine through the plastic cups really nicely.

12. Growing Herbs And Flowers

Surf and Sunshine

If you want to try seed starting your garden indoors, you'll need plenty of small containers. With a little indoor potting mix, old K-cups are the perfect size.

You can start flowers indoors or grow fresh herbs for your kitchen.

Because of their small size, you can even hang your planters by the window as a nice decoration.

Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation

13. Make Popsicles

K-Cup Popsicles
Her Campus

I was happy to discover how easy it was to make popsicles from K-cups, because half of a frozen treat is the perfect size for me.

There are other advantages to making your own popsicles: you can combine any flavors you like, including fresh yogurt, and the treat slides out of the cup pretty easily.

14. Trinket Box

Trinket box
Entirely Smitten

This cute creation from Entirely Smitten is so adorable, your guests will never imagine it's made from a recycled coffee pod.

You can see the instructions and more cool crafts on her website.

15. Wind Gauge

Wind Gauge

This is a simple afternoon project that will keep your kids busy, and teach them a little about science at the same time.

Two pods and a pair of straws make a working wind gauge that you can keep in your garden all summer.

16. Money Sorting

Money Sorting

I'm the kind of person who always digs through their change, looking for rare coins and cool designs.

The downside of keeping them sorted in coin rolls is you can't actually see what's inside. So I like to store them in old K-cups instead.

17. Christmas Decorations

K-cup wreath
Twig and Thistle

Some crafters save up their K-cups year round to make holiday decorations on a budget, and they actually look pretty nice.

The cups are the perfect shade for a snowy white Christmas wreath, and tree decorations like this snowflake ornament are easy to make with your kids.

K-cup snowlfake

If you have a lot of cups to use up, how about a homemade advent calendar stuffed with candy, toys and treats?

K-Cup advent calendar
Sirberius - Reddit

18. Sturdy Candle Holders

This project is a little more involved than the others, since it includes mixing concrete in K-cup molds, but the result looks really nice.

K-cup candle holders
Lots of DIY

Get the instructions here.

19. A Tiny Scoop

Hai Rui Precision Mould Co.

This tip is a life saver if you love to bake. Reuse those old K-cups as scoops for chocolate chips, coffee grounds, and other ingredients.

It's easier than digging in with a measuring spoon when you just need a small amount of something.

20. Freeze Cut Herbs

Here's an easy way to make fresh ingredients last even longer: did you know that cut herbs can be frozen and saved for later?

Frozen Herbs

A K-cup with a little water is the perfect way to conveniently freeze herbs. The containers stand up, but you can top them with plastic wrap if you're nervous.

The herb cubes you make are perfect for adding flavor to soups and sauces.

21. Arts And Crafts

K-cup stamp
Compendium Blog

With a little imagination, there's no limit to the creative ways you can use old coffee pods to entertain the little ones in your family.

They make perfect stamps, and their shape is great for plenty of seasonal crafts.

K-cup crafts
Growing Up Gabel / Happy Mothering

Keep a few empty cups handy, and you're guaranteed to find a way to use them.

Looking for more easy DIY ideas? We have 40 crafty ways to use a Mason jar.

And if you have coffee on the brain, here are 13 unusual uses for it, besides your morning cup.

I write about all sorts of things for Shared, especially weird facts, celebrity news, and viral stories.