Starbucks shares progress towards packaging sustainability

SEATTLE – Starbucks leadership has shared progress and plans towards. creating more sustainable packing options for its take out products.

Over the next year in several markets worldwide, the company will trial new, greener cups. Customers in New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Vancouver and London will help test a few different cups that will be both recyclable and compostable in those municipalities’ facilities. Starbucks will choose the cup technologies from NextGen Cup Challenge winners announced earlier this month, working with expertise and support from the NextGen Consortium.

Starbucks initiated the Consortium last spring with Closed Loop Partners, and its mission includes identifying cup technologies that can be both recyclable and compostable on a global scale. In addition, the Consortium aims to work with municipalities to increase acceptance of these new paper cups in recycling and composting programs by showing their value and ability to be recovered and diverted from landfills.

The Consortium’s work supports Starbucks many efforts to minimize its environmental footprint, which include a goal made in 2016 to double the recycled content, recyclability and the reusability of its cups by 2022.

“We applaud Starbucks speed in committing to test NextGen winners that were identified less than a month ago, and the innovative collaboration at work here among so many global food and beverage companies,” said Kate Daly, executive director of the Center for the Circular Economy at Closed Loop Partners.

“We look forward to continuing to build on this momentum, so that we can help recyclable and compostable options be the norm rather than the exception for to-go cups.”

Starbucks will roll out new lightweight, recyclable strawless lids to all stores in the United States and Canada in the next year. This is a key milestone as the company works to phase out plastic straws from its more than 30,000 stores worldwide by 2020, eliminating more than one billion straws a year – a goal that was announced last July.

Newly redesigned, lightweight recyclable strawless lids will roll out this summer to Starbucks locations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington, D.C., Indianapolis and Toronto, while the rest of the U.S. and Canada will receive them by early 2020.

The new lids have nine per cent less plastic than the current lid and straw. Frappuccino drinks and other blended beverages will continue to have a different, domed lid made from recyclable plastic and will be accompanied by a straw, except where local law prohibits it. Starbucks is testing alternative material straws for blended beverages and is exploring some of this month’s winning NextGen technologies that could apply to straws. (Plastic straws will continue to be available upon request for Starbucks customers who need or request them.)

“We are pleased to see Starbucks exploring more ways to reduce its overall plastic footprint less than a year after first announcing its decision to phase out plastic straws,” said Susan Ruffo, managing director for international initiatives at Ocean Conservancy.

“Redesigning products and packaging to be more sustainable is a long-term commitment, not a one-time decision, and Starbucks is clearly in for the long haul. We look forward to seeing how the company continues to do its part to fight ocean plastic and we hope others follow suit.”