Starbucks sells 4 billion disposable cups a year--and most of those are not recycled.
I was a loyal Starbucks customer. As a social welfare college student, sustainability is a cause I’ve always been passionate about. I remember buying several cups of coffee to get me through the day, and noticing that the sleeves on the cups would always say, "Help us help the planet." I always saw the company touting its national award for using cups made of 10 percent recycled material.
I feel tricked.
Starbucks promotes recycling on its cups, but the cups themselves aren't recyclable in most places. The coating on the Starbucks paper cups makes them difficult to recycle. This can be overcome, but it would cost them money.
As a brand that is trying to position themselves as globally responsible, Starbucks admitted in its 2013 Global Responsibility Report that the company was not going to meet its recycling goals for 100 percent of their cups to be reusable or recyclable by 2015 (if ever).
It's been an entire five years since Starbucks first began its recycling program, and only 39% of their company-operated stores in the United States and Canada are able to offer front-of-store recycling. Of the locations that allow recycling, most of the cold cups are able to be recycled, but only 71% are able to recycle the hot cup because of the special lining inside hot cups.
Starbucks cited inconsistent public policy, limited market for the recycled end-products, and lacking infrastructure and operational challenges as the reasons for their failure to commit to environmental sustainability.
As the world's largest coffee chain--with over 20,000 stores worldwide and over 13,000 stores just in the US--Starbucks needs to lead the charge in sustainability; this lack of commitment is inacceptable. With Starbucks executives saying the company had the best year in company history in 2013 with a 34 percent traffic increase and $3.2 billion in revenue, they have the resources to commit to their goals of recycling their cups.
They should be able to commit to their goal of 100% front-of-store recycling for both hot and cold cups.
As the number one coffee chain in the world, Starbucks needs to lead the charge on being an eco-friendly company.
It’s time to get Starbucks to commit to sustainability.
Please sign the petition if you would also like Starbucks to commit to going green and reduce waste in our world.