Greener Cups and Packaging
We are decreasing the waste associated with our business, increasing recycling and promoting reusability.
Our goal: Double the recycled content, recyclability and compostability, and reusability of our cups and packaging by 2022.
Each year, an estimated 600 billion paper and plastic cups are distributed globally*, and though Starbucks cups only account for an estimated 1 percent of that total, we are invested in finding a more sustainable solution. We have made substantial progress to reduce the impact of waste generated in our stores through cup innovation and improved packaging design, advocacy for local recycling infrastructure, and offering reusable cups.
Starbucks has continually worked to reduce the environmental impact of our cups and lids. In 1997, we introduced a hot cup sleeve to eliminate the popular practice of double-cupping. In 2006, Starbucks developed paper cups manufactured with 10 percent post-consumer recycled fiber, the first cup of its kind in the food packaging industry to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2006. We also introduced a more recyclable cup lid in 2016 which allowed the cup to be more widely accepted.
In 2018, Starbucks, in partnership with Closed Loop Partners, launched a global effort to bring together entrepreneurs, industry leaders, and recyclers to identify and commercialize the next generation of recyclable and/or compostable cup solutions via the NextGen Cup Consortium and Challenge And, we have also committed to phasing out plastic straws from our 29,000 stores worldwide by 2020, eliminating more than 1 billion straws a year. Plastic straws will be replaced with a lightweight, recyclable strawless lid, with paper or alternative material straws available for blended beverages, and plastic straws upon request for Starbucks customers who need or request one.
Starbucks has been a leading national retailer in advocating for increased access to recycling programs throughout the country.
Recycling seems like a simple, straightforward initiative but it’s actually quite challenging. Our customers’ ability to recycle our cups, whether at home, at work, in public spaces or in our stores, is dependent upon multiple factors, including local government policies and access to recycling markets such as paper mills and plastic processors. The current patchwork approach with varying regulations city by city makes it challenging and confusing for customers to know where and when to recycle or compost their cup.
As part of Starbucks involvement, we advocate for model legislation and best practices. In conjunction with the National League of Cities to make access more widely available, ensuring consistency and reducing confusion about what materials are recyclable or compostable. In addition, we are working with companies and organizations along the supply chain as a member of the Food Packaging Institute’s Paper Recovery Alliance and Plastics Recovery Group. Ultimately, we want our packaging to be recyclable in both material and practice, so that our customers have access to recycling services wherever they choose to dispose of their waste.
Reusable cups are also an important component of our overall waste reduction strategy. Since 1985 we’ve rewarded our customers with a discount when they bring in personal cups or tumblers, or use for-here serveware available in our stores. In 2013 we launched a $2 reusable cup in the U.S. and Canada, and a £1cup in the United Kingdom.
Sustainability is about choices. We encourage our customers to join us in envisioning a sustainable future and choose reusability whenever possible.
How You Can Help
Reduce Waste and Save Money. Save 10¢ and a paper cup each time you use a reusable tumbler! Find them in our stores or online.