Starbucks Committing More to Recycling Efforts

Starbucks is teaming up with Closed Loop Partners‘ Center for the Circular Economy to establish a partnership designed to create a more sustainable cup solution for its customers. The announcement was made Tuesday in advance of Wednesday’s annual company meeting of shareholders. Starbucks is calling the project the NextGen Challenge and the goal will be to award entrepreneurs working toward an initiative to develop a fully recyclable cup within the next three years.

The Seattle-based coffee giant has committed $10 million toward the environmentally-based initiative. Currently, the beverages inside Starbucks cups are kept warm by the plastic coating lining the inside. However, it is this lining that keeps the cups unable to be recycled in some places. As part of the initiative, the company is working to develop a new plant-based cup lining that would be recyclable while also keeping their beverages at an ideal temperature.

Some Starbucks cups are recyclable in various large markets, including Seattle, Boston, San Francisco, New York, Boston, and Washington D.C. Starbucks is encouraging all cities to institute consistent recycling policies so that all cups can be recycled. As part of this effort, Starbucks is partnering with the National League of Cities’ Sustainable Cities Institute to encourage legislation to promote recycling and sustainability efforts.

Experts estimate that Starbucks alone produces six billion disposable cups per year. Environmental groups have routinely criticized the company for not pledging to solve this problem sooner.

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