For a mega-corporation, Starbucks has made quite an effort to go green and minimize the environmental impacts of its operations. From its Shared Planet campaign, to fair trade coffee sourcing, Starbucks knows how to make a green cup of coffee.
Now, Starbucks is moving to recycled coffee cups. That’s right – instead of tossing the paper cups into the trash, tests show that they can now be recycled. Within the next 4-5 years, Starbucks plans on only offering recyclable or reusable cups to its customers.
As noted in the news report above, Starbucks recently conducted a 6-week test project using 8,000 pounds of previously used cups from Ontario, which were sent to Mississippi River Pulp. The fact that the cups have come into contact with food or drink makes the process more difficult – from a legal and logistical standpoint. However, the project was successful, which brings Starbucks one step closer to its goal of 100% recycled coffee cups by 2015.
Creating Starbucks recycled coffee cups is an important victory for the company. Of the 4 billion (with a “b”) cups that Starbucks produces each year, a small percentage end up in recycling bins or compost heaps. Most of the time, they are tossed in the trash and make their way to the landfill.
Starbucks hopes to lead the rest of the industry, too. Its tests show that the plastic lining in coffee cups can be separated out before recycling and that food contamination can be filtered out. Removing these obstacles to recycling will help the bottom line for Starbucks and other restaurants and homes in the United States.
I’ll raise a cup to that!