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Used Paper Cups Become New Again

I want to let you know about an important milestone in our recycling journey. Earlier this month, we completed a six-week pilot project that – for the first time – proved our used paper cups can be recycled into new paper cups.

To make this happen, we collaborated with International Paper, our largest cup supplier, and Mississippi River Pulp LLC, the company that produces post-consumer recycled fiber (PCF) for our paper cups. While the PCF for our current paper cups is made from office paper, the PCF used for the pilot project contains used cup material.

This advancement brings us one step closer to our goal of ensuring that 100% of our cups are reusable or recyclable by 2015. By “recyclable,” we’re not just talking about the cup design, but the ability for local communities to collect, haul and process our cups for recycling. We want customers to be able to recycle single-use cups in our stores, in their homes and workplaces, and in public spaces. While some communities already recycle our cups, most don’t have the right infrastructure in place – and that’s what we’re aiming to influence.

We’ve been working for a long time to reduce the environmental impact of our cups. In 2006, we launched the industry’s first paper cup containing PCF. Over time, our switch to cups made from 10% PCF has saved over 60,000 tons of virgin wood fiber, the equivalent of more than 422,000 trees.

We held cup summits in 2009 and 2010, bringing together all the key players in the cup supply chain together to develop a roadmap for improving local recycling systems.

Also since 2009, we’ve introduced front-of-store cup collection in Seattle and Toronto, where our cups are recyclable, and in San Francisco, where our cups are compostable. We appreciate the enthusiasm of our customers in these communities – you helped make our efforts a success!

And earlier this year, we sponsored the Beta Cup Challenge, which generated a lot of ideas on how to increase the use of reusable cups in our stores.

We have another recycling pilot underway right now in New York, and in 2011 we plan to test and roll out recycling in additional communities. In the meantime, you can help us reduce cup waste by asking for a ceramic mug or bringing your traveler tumbler with you. Thanks for following our progress – we’ll be sure to keep you updated!

comments (3)

Comment FAQ

    • Janet4784
    • 12/20/2010 3:15 PM

    Great news! Sustainability is very important to us.

    • Tarzan67
    • 1/7/2011 11:36 PM

    This is great news, I have always felt that there should be a way to recycle all the cups I see in the trash at Starbucks. I think there should be a small discount for those that bring their own reusable cup in, say $.05 (T), $.10 (V), $.15 (G).

    • Tarzan67
    • 1/7/2011 11:42 PM

    I just found out you do discount drinks for people that bring their own cups, bravo! Thanks for being such an ethical company!

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