#UpTheCup: Starbucks Use A Recyclable Paper Cup!

#UpTheCup: Starbucks Use A Recyclable Paper Cup!

71,346 have signed. Let’s get to 75,000!
Petition to
Starbucks Chief Executive Officer Kevin Johnson and

Why this petition matters

Started by SEAL Awards

Starbucks produces 4 billion single-use paper cups each year.

Unfortunately, they are not recyclable in most places.

Despite bold sustainable packaging commitments in 2008 - nearly 13 years ago now - Starbucks has yet to implement a truly recyclable solution.

SEAL Impact Team presents UpTheCup, a campaign dedicated to clear up the misconception surrounding the sustainability of Starbucks Cups and paper cups in general. 

One of the major drivers of climate change is the greenhouse gas emissions emitted by landfills, which contributes to nearly 15% of the methane emissions in the US. One of the most effective ways to reduce the GHG emissions from the use of paper cups is through recycling. When paper cups are effectively recycled, it can cut around 54% of their GHG emission from each cup's total life cycle. The current design of most cups makes them incapable of being recycled. The paper cups Starbucks currently uses contain a plastic lining, which prevents the cups from being effectively recycled in most places since it gums up the machines and forces workers to manually pull the obstruction from the machine and then send the waste to the landfill.


There is very little awareness in the US that paper cups are not recyclable. A key goal of the #UpTheCup campaign is to spark awareness within the US like what the “War on Waste” documentary series achieved internationally.  

A US-wide consumer survey (sample size of 1,000) conducted by SEAL:

  • Showed that 83% of Starbucks consumers believe their paper cups are recyclable. 
  • Nearly 60% of consumers indicated that news of Starbucks paper cups being non-recyclable would affect their purchasing behavior going forward, thus representing a key business risk.
  • 84% of consumers would like to see a fully recyclable option.
  • 72% showed a strong willingness to pay an extra $0.25 per cup to fund this shift.


When first investigating the issue of paper cup sustainability further, the SEAL Impact Team was surprised to learn that fully recyclable paper cups are widely in use globally. 

These existing recyclable cup options:

  • At production scale, the change in coating is cost neutral
  • Have been proven to be 100% recyclable.
  • Most significantly, this technology has already been adopted internationally (Canada, European Union, South America, and United Kingdom) and at scale by large cup manufacturers  (DetPak, Huhtamaki, Lavazza) and clients (United Airlines, Burger King Australia) 

We are requesting that Starbucks implements truly recyclable cups within the next 6 months. 


  • To support the #UpTheCup campaign, please sign our petition at Change.org as the fight to #UpTheCup can only be possible with collective and uniform efforts. 
  • Join us in our cause by using #UpTheCup on all our social media platforms: 
  • Use reusable cupware and dishware when eating out publicly to reduce waste.


71,346 have signed. Let’s get to 75,000!