Starbucks trials new ‘ultra-green’ compostable paper coffee cup in bid to reduce waste by 50 per cent over the next decade
- Starbucks launched a competition to find the ‘perfect’ recyclable coffee cup
- It is being trialled in London, Seattle, San Francisco, New York and Vancouver
- The new cup is identical on the outside to the existing disposable Starbucks cup
- The difference is a biodegradable lining on the inside of the cup replacing the traditional plastic lining on the current disposable cups
Starbucks will introduce compostable and recyclable coffee cups in London this week as part of a bid to reduce waste by 50 per cent over the next decade.
The coffee shop giant said that its new paper cup will be trialled at some of its London stores for the next four weeks to see how well they perform.
They look almost identical to the traditional paper cups used by Starbucks but replace the plastic inner lining with a biodegradable material.
Like all companies, this is the latest in a series of moves designed to improve the green credentials of the company and make it more environmentally friendly.
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Starbucks narrowed down a winner from 12 finalists in the NextGen Cup Challenge in a bid to find the ‘perfect’ recyclable cup and is now trialing it in major cities. It is identical on the outside to the normal disposable cups
Starbucks aims to reduce waste within its business by 50 per cent before the end of the decade including by using recyclable cups
Earlier this year, it announced plans to reduce waste by 50 per cent in the next decade through a series of measures including the NextGen Cup Challenge.
The challenge is an effort by Starbucks and other food giants, including KFC, Pizza Hut, Coca-Cola and Nestle to find liquid vessels that are biodegradable.
The consortium chose 12 finalists from hundreds of entries sent in by a range of ‘industry experts and cup scientists’ for the new design.
It later narrowed this down to one cup which is going to be scaled up for market tests and London is the only European city to take part in the global trial.
The other cities are Seattle, San Francisco, New York and Vancouver.
In March 2019 the company promised that customers would be trying new recyclable cups ‘over the next year’ and this delivers on that promise.
‘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 at the time.
‘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.’
Starbucks has stopped accepting reusable cups in a bid to halt the spread of coronavirus but says it will still honour the discount if a customer brings their cup with them
The company banned the use of reusable cups in its stores last week over concerns that they could help spread coronavirus
‘We are pausing the use of personal cups and ‘for here’ ware in our stores,’ executive vice president Rossann Williams said in a statement Wednesday.
In 2018, 1.3 per cent of customers in the United States, Canada, Europe, the Middle East and Africa were served drinks in cups they brought along.
Customers will still get a 25p discount for bringing in their reusable cups, but will be served a disposable one.
WHAT COMMITMENTS ARE BIG NAME BRANCHES MAKING TO CUT DOWN ON SINGLE-USE PLASTIC?
Costa Coffee has promised to recycle as many cups as it puts into the market by 2020 and also offers customers a 25p discount on hot beverages if they bring their own reusable cup.
Pret A Manger offers a 50p discount on hot beverages if people bring their own reusable cup.
A spokesperson said: ‘We doubled our discount for customers who bring in their own reusable cup to 50p in January 2018 and, since then, usage has increased almost 20-fold.
‘We now serve over 150,000 drinks in reusable cups every week, and since the discount was doubled, Pret customers have saved over six million paper cups.’
Starbucks offers customers a 25p discount on hot beverages if they bring their own reusable cup
Starbucks offers customers a 25p discount on hot beverages if they bring their own reusable cup.
The chain has announced its London cafes will trial a redesigned cup that will be both recyclable and compostable.
A spokesman said: ‘Our British stores are the first globally to have trialled a 5p charge on takeaway cups.’ He said reusable cup uptake had risen from 1..8% to more than 5% in the past 18 months.
Along with McDonald’s it has invested £10m in firms hoping to design a sustainable alternative to the disposable cup.
Caffè Nero says that, along with its competitors, it is ‘working to increase the number of [coffee cup] recycling points’ in the UK. It also encourages the use of reusable cups by offering 2 stamps per coffee on its loyalty card.
Caffè Nero, Starbucks, Greggs, McDonald’s UK and Pret A Manger are also involved in a cup recycling scheme that funds the collection of takeaway cups for recycling.
Cafe Nero encourage the use of reusable cups by offering 2 stamps per coffee on its loyalty card
But are they doing enough?
Research shows that very few disposable coffee cups get recycled.
The mixture of plastic and paper in the lining, which is designed to make them leakproof and retain the heat, causes difficulties.
In 2011 a survey by Which? Suggested eight out of 10 people mistakenly believed coffee cups could be recycled.
They create tens of thousands of tonnes of landfill every year and hundreds of thousands a day are discarded as litter.
Many people mistakenly think they can be recycled
2.5 billion coffee cups are thrown away every year. A minuscule 0.25% are recycled.
A shocking 25,000 tonnes of waste a year in landfill
1 in 5 people visit a coffee shop daily.
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