A monster created with over 500 old Starbucks cups prowled outside a Seattle hotel this week. Advocacy group Stand.earth created the Cup Monster to pressure the company to deliver a better, recyclable cup. Although Starbucks has trialed recyclable cups, when you order that pumpkin spice latte or mocha today, the paper cup you hold still can’t be recycled in many regions.
Stand.earth says Starbucks serves four billion disposable paper cups every single year – but many facilities can’t recycle them “because the inside plastic lining clogs the equipment,” according to the group. So they showed up at the Seattle Sheraton hotel this week, where Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson was speaking at the 2017 GeekWire Summit, with the Cup Monster in tow.
— Stand.earth (@standearth) October 10, 2017
According to Stand.earth United States campaign director Ross Hammond, over 8,000 cups go to landfills every minute. He said in a statement, “We hope Seattle’s tech leaders will join us in calling on Starbucks to stop serving 21st century coffee in a 20th century cup.” GeekWire reported although activists wore Starbucks uniforms, they aren’t affiliated with the coffee company.
Starbucks vice president of communications Linda Mills told GeekWire the company’s cups can be recycled in some markets like Seattle, San Francisco, Boston, New York, and Washington, D.C. She said they are also working with municipalities so the cups can be recycled in more areas.
Reusable cups are also an option; the company has offered a discount since 1985 for customers when they bring in cups that can be used over and over. On Starbucks’ webpage on recycling, they say, “We will continue to explore new ways to reduce our cup waste but ultimately it will be our customers who control whether or not we achieve continued growth in the number of beverages served in reusable cups.”
You can sign Stand.earth’s letter to Johnson asking for a better cup here.