These days it seems there’s a Starbucks on every corner — and although the Inhabiteam loves us some caffeine, we cringe at the thought of all those carelessly discarded coffee cups. Today the giant of all coffee companies set a new green goal to make 100% of their cups reusable or recyclable by 2015. It’s a lofty goal, but as they’ve recently proven it is totally attainable and we are excited about the implications of their latest endeavor.
It turns out that most recycling plants reject coffee cups for recycling because of the thin plastic lining that makes them waterproof — so even if you put your cup in the paper recycling bin it will most likely get thrown away. Starbucks already has a list of green credentials — they’ve got LEED certified stores, they use recycled material in their cups, they make seat chairs out of recycled coffee cups, and they buy 40 million pounds of fair trade coffee. It is no surprise that the company would keep pushing their green initiatives forward and we’re happy to see them taking a hard stance on the disposal cup problem.
Recently, to prove that coffee cups are in fact recyclable despite their plastic lining, Starbucks shipped 6,000 pounds of used cups to the Mississippi River Pulp mill — a plant capable of recycling them back into products suitable for eating and drinking — and successfully recycled all 6,000 pounds back into paper Starbucks cups. Cups to cups sounds like a nice closed system to us.
Jim Hanna, the Starbucks director of environmental impact, said that the pilot, “went a long way to proving to the industry that they can take these cups.” Though the cost effectiveness of the process hasn’t been fleshed out yet, it is a positive reminder that we can all do a little more than we thought when it comes to reusing and recycling. Considering that one billion paper cups and one billion plastic cups are used by Starbucks customers each year, the initiative stands to significantly cut the