Advocacy organisation Stand.earth recently held a five-day protest at Starbucks’ headquarters in Seattle as part of its #BetterCup campaign.
The Bellingham-based group said it wants Starbucks to fulfil a commitment it made in 2008 to make a fully recyclable cup, without a plastic lining.
Its recent report, ‘Trashed: The Secret of the Starbucks Cup,’ explains how Starbucks’ cups cannot be processed in most recycling facilities because of that plastic lining. Instead, most of the 4 billion plus cups Starbucks serves annually end up in landfills.
“Although Starbucks rightly states that coffee cups are accepted for recycling in a few major cities – including Seattle – the percentage of cups that successfully make it through the entire recycling process remains unclear,” Stand.earth said. “We’re asking Starbucks to take responsibility for what it directly controls – how its cups are made. We explained some of this in an open letter to Starbucks staff, which we handed out to employees as they arrived for work.”
The group set up a ‘Cup Wall’ in front of Starbucks HQ, a piece of installation art made of 8,000 used Starbucks cups, symbolizing the number of paper cups thrown away every minute of every day.
“Over the next few months we’ll be ramping up our campaign to convince Starbucks to finally keep its promise and make a #BetterCup. We know that when Starbucks decides it truly wants a 100 per cent recyclable cup, manufacturers will respond and develop a 100 per cent recyclable cup. Let’s help them get there.”
The group suggests that people should write to Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson about the issue. In the letter it proposes they use, Stand.earth said “In 2008, Starbucks boldly told the world it would serve a recyclable paper cup and increase reusable cup usage to 25% by 2015. Neither of these promises have been kept. Starbucks needs to do better.
“If Starbucks – the world’s biggest coffee chain – switches to a recyclable cup, the rest of the industry is very likely to follow. Together, this would make a huge difference to landfill waste and ocean pollution around the globe. Starbucks made over US$12 billion in profit last year, so we know it can afford to invest in developing a better cup.”