Starbucks Changes Packaging

November, 2009

Starbucks wants its cups to be 100 percent recyclable by 2012 and is recruiting the packaging and recycling industries to help it get there.

Where we are today: 58 billion paper cups used each year = 645,000 tons of waste

Removing cups would mean -2.5 million CO2 equivalent greenhouse gases = 450,000 cars off the road


Americans use about 58 billion paper cups each year. But landfills are quickly running out of space for the 645,000 tons of waste they result in. At the same time, consumers are taking notice of the foodservice industry’s growing inconvenient truth, pushing for more green alternatives to traditional packaging. The solution seems easy: Prevent the cups from going into landfills and cut back green house emissions equivalent to removing about half a million cars from the road.

There have been efforts to make cups more recyclable and eco-friendly before within the company. In 2006, Starbucks introduced a paper cup that contained 10 percent post-consumer recycled fiber, and last year it switched from the standard PET cold cups to polypropylene cold cups, which use significantly less plastic and reduce greenhouse gas emissions during manufacturing by 45 percent. But today Starbucks is thinking even bigger. The new initiative to make its cups recyclable goes beyond just what the cup is made of, it takes into account the entire life of the cup.


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