It’s a big challenge and we’re making big progress. We’re trying to develop more environmentally friendly cups and are working hard to expand our recycling program in an effort to reduce the waste we create.

Starbucks is committed to significantly reducing the waste our stores generate - especially when it comes to recycling.

We know this is important to our customers, to us and our planet. In fact, we get more customer comments about recycling than any other environmental issue - especially when it comes to our cups.

Our Goal

By 2015 we plan to have recycling available in all of our stores where we control waste collection and serve 25% of beverages in reusable cups.

What We've Been Doing

Despite the many challenges, we've been tackling recycling and waste reduction on many fronts.

Reusable Cups

Reducing the environmental impact of our cups depends on the success of two interrelated efforts: developing recyclable cup solutions and dramatically increasing our customers’ use of reusable cups. A lot of our customers are also working to reduce their own environmental impact even as we are. Customers staying in a store can also request that their beverages be served in a ceramic mug. Every paper cup saved helps keep our forests intact. (Learn more about deforestation from our friends at Conservation International.)

Greener Cups

Over the years Starbucks has launched several initiatives to decrease the environmental impact of our disposable cups.

  • In 1997, we developed our recycled-content cup sleeve as a way to protect customers from hot beverages and avoid the waste of “double cupping.”
  • In 2006, we launched the industry’s first hot beverage paper cup with 10% post-consumer recycled fibre. 
  • In 2008, we rolled out a new plastic cup that has less of an environmental impact than our original plastic cups. 
  • In 2009, we hosted a Cup Summit in Seattle, bringing together all facets of our paper and plastic cup value chain to find agreement on criteria for a comprehensive recyclable cup solution.

We are committed to doing more and continue to search for new ways to reduce the environmental footprint of our disposable cups and other packaging.

In 2009 we convened a first-ever summit with local governments, cup manufacturers, recyclers, and other stakeholders to jointly identify the steps required to make our cups recyclable in form and in practice.