Cup and Materials
We are working to shrink our environmental footprint and meet the expectations of our customers by reducing the waste associated with our cups, increasing recycling and promoting reusable cups.
Innovating in Recycling and Food Packaging
Providing recycling in our stores and ensuring the recyclability of our cups is a foremost priority for Starbucks and our customers. We’ve offered a cup with 10% post-consumer recycled paper fiber since 2006. And we keep working to decrease the materials used in our packaging, find new ways to encourage reusables and implement recycling solutions for our cups.
Our approach is to not only provide customers with cup choices for their beverages, but to also collaborate with others to create locally relevant improvements in the recycling infrastructures of communities where we operate. We are doing that by taking a close look at the materials we use and opportunities for material reuse in the future.
In 2012 we introduced the EarthSleeve™ to Starbucks locations across the United States and Canada. This new hot-cup sleeve requires fewer raw materials to make, while increasing the amount of post-consumer content. These adjustments correlate to a savings of nearly 100,0001 trees a year and we are working to roll out EarthSleeve globally.
Finding Cup Recycling Solutions Goals and Progress
Goal: Develop comprehensive recycling solutions for our paper and plastic cups by 2012.
Progress through 2012: While we proved the recyclability of our cups in U.S., Canada, UK and Germany, and continue to expand recycling in those countries, we are still working toward materials and/or infrastructure solutions for our remaining company-owned markets.
To learn more about our work in developing a recycling solution for paper and plastic cups read our Global Responsibility Goals & Progress Report.
Because recycling infrastructure varies widely in countries around the world – even from one city to another – a one-size-fits-all approach does not work for a global business with stores in more than 60 countries.
We have proven that our used cups can be accepted in a variety of recycling systems, and we are bringing this to scale in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Germany. We are developing material and infrastructure solutions in additional markets, working toward our goal to provide all customers access to cup recycling by 2015.
By working with nongovernmental organizations, policy makers, competitors and others, we can tackle common challenges. As a member of the Paper Recovery Alliance and the Plastics Recovery Alliance, and others, we are helping advance a number of meaningful food packaging initiatives that will have a significant impact on the entire industry.
Reducing Waste with Reusable Cups Goals and Progress
Goal: Serve 5 percent of beverages made in our stores in personal tumblers by 2015.
Progress through 2012: In 2012, customers used personal tumblers more than 35 million times, and we are implementing new solutions in 2013 to bring us closer to this goal.
To learn more about our work in encouraging the use of reusable tumblers read our Global Responsibility Goals & Progress Report.
Reusable cups are an important component of our overall waste reduction strategy. Since 1985 we’ve rewarded our customers with a discount when they bring in personal tumblers, and we have a goal to serve 5% of the beverages made in our stores in tumblers and mugs brought in by our customers.
In 2012 customers brought their own tumblers into our stores 35.8 million times, saving more than 1.6 million pounds of paper from landfills. Although customers brought in their personal mugs 1.5 million more times in 2012 over the previous year, the percentage of customers choosing reusable mugs remained flat from last year. In previous years, we calculated the percentage of customer tumbler use over total transactions. In collecting data from our stores around the world and analyzing customer behavior, we determined that a better measurement of this goal is to calculate the percentage of times a personal cup/tumbler is used over our total beverage sales, which is a more precise measure of the total beverages we sell.
We’ll continue to find innovative ways to engage customers to work with us to reduce waste; including launching a $1 reusable cup in the U.S. and Canada in 2013 with plans to expand to other markets. We challenge ourselves, our partners in our support centers and our stores, to use reusable cups and remain committed to exploring new ways to reduce our cup waste.
An important component of our overall waste reduction strategy is the use of reusable cups. Since 1985 we’ve rewarded our customers with a discount when they bring in personal tumblers, and we have a goal to serve 5 percent of all beverages made in our stores in personal tumblers.
And don’t forget, if you are enjoying one of our great beverages “for here” ask for a ceramic mug.
What We’re Doing Now
Introducing our new reusable and recyclable* cup!
- We have always struggled to move the needle on our customers’ use of personal tumblers above 2% of transactions
- We believe that offering a durable, low cost option that can be recycled when it wears out will be a hit at “changing habits” to make getting your to-go Starbucks beverage in reusables an everyday practice
- And if the cup gets grungy or stained, or you don’t like the paint chipping off after you’ve used & abused it, recycle it and get another one for a buck
While we’ve sold reusable mugs and tumblers for years, what makes this new cup exciting is that it’s yours for only US$1. It’s a quality, low-cost option to enjoy your favorite Starbucks beverage. This cup is less expensive than other tumblers because it’s made with a lighter material and less of it. Though you’ll need to use a sleeve for the cup when you’re holding a hot drink, it’s a low-cost, way to help make a difference.
And since you receive a 10-cent discount every time you use it in our stores, this cup pays for itself in just 10 uses. And you’ve saved 10 paper cups! If you use it daily for a month you’ll help avoid using more than a pound of paper or 3.5 pounds of wood. At the end of its life, *if polypropylene (#5) plastic recycling is available in your region, you can recycle this cup and help minimize your impact on the planet even more.
Starbucks is committed to reducing our cup waste. By offering this option and providing our 10-cent discount, we hope to inspire you to bring your own cup, we’ll provide the coffee.
What We’ll Do Next
We continue to enhance the visibility and use of ceramic mugs for our in-store customers as we renovate our existing store portfolio and build out new stores. You’ll notice the mugs are much more prominently displayed near the POS in our new store designs.
1 Data sourced from the 2012 Foodservice Disposable Packaging Assessment and the environmental impact estimates were made using the Environmental Paper Network Calculator (more at www.papercacluator.org.) All raw material and post-consumer claims on the material makeup of EarthSleeve™ have been validated by the paper suppliers and their compostability, re-pulpability and potential environmental benefits have been researched and validated by Cedar Grove, Western Michigan University, and Environmental Paper Network Paper Calculator.
How You Can Help
Use a Personal Tumbler or Cup at Starbucks
You save 10¢ and another paper cup every time.
Shop for Reusable Tumblers
Share Your Ideas With Us
Our reusable cup is an idea launched from suggestions made by our partners and customers.
You can share your ideas with us at mystarbucksidea.com.