Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Starbucks Is Testing Fully Compostable Cups in Five Cities

Business
A coffee cup on a counter at a Starbucks on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The company is testing compostable cups in five major cities. James Leynse / Corbis via Getty Images

Starbucks is pilot testing environmentally friendly cups that look and feel just like the company's normal cups, but the plastic lining has been replaced with a compostable liner, making the cups recyclable and compostable, according to CNN.


The coffee giant is introducing the cups in five major markets: New York, San Francisco, Seattle, London and Vancouver. The shift in lining means the cups can be thrown into an industrial composter, as CNN reported.

Finding its way to sustainability has been a rough road for Starbucks. The company found success in purchasing enough renewable energy to power stores in the U.S. and Canada. However, when it comes to improving its ubiquitous cups, the company has come up short. A goal to serve 25 percent of its drinks in reusable cups by 2015 was scaled back. By 2018, only 2 percent of the company's drinks were in reusable cups, according to The Verge.

The new cups are part of the NextGen Cup Challenge – an open-sourced, global innovation challenge to redesign the fiber to-go cup and create a widely recyclable and/or compostable cup, according to Starbucks. The company considered 12 different prototypes before it chose to go with the BioPBS liner. The new liner is made from a renewable material, which is melted and spread on to the paperboard before it is used for the new cups, as The Verge reported.

The maneuver to more sustainable cups is part of Starbucks' plan to reduce waste by 50 percent over the next decade. The move coincides with the company's decision not to allow customers to bring in their own reusable cups over Covid-19 fears, as Yahoo News reported. However, in locations where customers receive a discount for using their own cup, they will continue to get it – but their drinks will be in a disposable cup.

Starbucks is testing the new cups over the next four weeks and looking for feedback from customers and baristas. "Customers will not see any noticeable difference from the current cup," the company said in a statement discussing the test, as CNN reported.

"It is with great intention that we move forward with highly collaborative and innovative work to bring both recyclable and compostable cups to scale around the world," Chief Executive Kevin Johnson said in March 2019 when the winner of the NextGen Cup Challenge was announced, as Yahoo News reported.

"We are reimagining the future for Starbucks, and for the more than 30,000 communities we serve each day, with a great sense of responsibility for a more sustainable planet," he said.

Finding its way to a greener cup has proven elusive since plastic-lined cups are cheap, light, stackable and excellent at keeping liquids from seeping out. While they are technically recyclable, few facilities actually have the ability to separate the lining from the cups. So the cups just get tossed out, as CNN reported.

The new compostable cups still have the same problem as the recyclable ones where the lining has to be separated from the cup, which is why it is being tested in cities that have processing facilities to do so, according to CNN.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Residents plant mangroves on the coast of West Aceh District in Indonesia on Feb. 21, 2020. Mangroves play a crucial role in stabilizing the coastline, providing protection from storms, waves and tidal erosion. Dekyon Eon / Opn Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Mangroves play a vital role in capturing carbon from the atmosphere. Mangrove forests are tremendous assets in the fight to stem the climate crisis. They store more carbon than a rainforest of the same size.

Read More Show Less
UN World Oceans Day is usually an invite-only affair at the UN headquarters in New York, but this year anyone can join in by following the live stream on the UNWOD website from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST. https://unworldoceansday.org/

Monday is World Oceans Day, but how can you celebrate our blue planet while social distancing?

Read More Show Less
Cryptococcus yeasts (pictured), including ones that are hybrids, can cause life-threatening infections in primarily immunocompromised people. KATERYNA KON/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY / Getty Images

By Jacob L. Steenwyk and Antonis Rokas

From the mythical minotaur to the mule, creatures created from merging two or more distinct organisms – hybrids – have played defining roles in human history and culture. However, not all hybrids are as fantastic as the minotaur or as dependable as the mule; in fact, some of them cause human diseases.

Read More Show Less
National Trails Day 2020 is now titled In Solidarity, AHS Suspends Promotion of National Trails Day 2020. The American Hiking Society is seeking to amplify Black voices in the outdoor community and advocate for equal access to the outdoors. Klaus Vedfelt / DigitalVision / Getty Images

This Saturday, June 6, marks National Trails Day, an annual celebration of the remarkable recreational, scenic and hiking trails that crisscross parks nationwide. The event, which started in 1993, honors the National Trail System and calls for volunteers to help with trail maintenance in parks across the country.

Read More Show Less
Indigenous people from the Parque das Tribos community mourn the death of Chief Messias of the Kokama tribe from Covid-19, in Manaus, Brazil, on May 14, 2020. MICHAEL DANTAS / AFP / Getty Images

By John Letzing

This past Wednesday, when some previously hard-hit countries were able to register daily COVID-19 infections in the single digits, the Navajo Nation – a 71,000 square-kilometer (27,000-square-mile) expanse of the western US – reported 54 new cases of what's referred to locally as "Dikos Ntsaaígíí-19."

Read More Show Less
World Environment Day was put into motion almost fifty years ago by the United Nations as a response to a multitude of environmental threats. RicardoImagen / Getty Images

It's a different kind of World Environment Day this year. In prior years, it might have been enough to plant a tree, spend some extra time in the garden, or teach kids the importance of recycling. This year we have heavier tasks at hand. It's been months since we've been able to spend sufficient time outside, and as we lustfully watch the beauty of a new spring through our kitchen's glass windows, we have to decide how we'll interact with the natural world on our release, and how we can prevent, or be equipped to handle, future threats against our wellbeing.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Experts are worried that COVID-19, a primarily respiratory and airway disease, could have permanent effects on lungs, inhibiting the ability for divers to continue diving. Tiffany Duong / Ocean Rebels

Scuba divers around the world are holding their metaphorical breath to see if a coronavirus infection affects the ability to dive.

Read More Show Less