Starbucks Goes Greener: No More Plastic Straws and Non-Recyclable Cups. Would The Competitors Follow?

source: Ina Grace

Starbucks announced plans to start testing recyclable and compostable cups, CEO Kevin Johnson announced during his speech at the annual meeting of shareholders

As Johnson explained, the coffee chain has been using more than 7 billion cups each year. He also pointed out that the plastic lining of the cups makes their recycling a challenge. In an attempt to find a solution and go more environmentally-friendly, Starbucks will now start testing a variety of cups over the next year.

The test locations include New York, San Francisco, Vancouver, Seattle, and London, Johnson confirmed. Starbucks' customers will assist in testing the cups which use replaced the plastic liners with fiber, paper, and other materials.

The coffee chain will choose its new cup design among the winners of the NextGen Cup Challenge organized last year by Starbucks and Closed Loop Partners. The competition brought together entrepreneurs, visioners, industry leaders and recyclers to come up with recyclable and/or compostable cup solutions.

The primary goal of the company is to double the recycled content, compostability, and re-usability of its packaging and cups by 2022, Johnson commented, highlighting that last year Starbucks announced it would phase out plastic straws from all its branches worldwide by 2020.

The company is now working on straws made from alternative materials. In addition to that, Starbucks will launch its remodeled recyclable strawless lids for its cold drinks in several locations in North America. By fall 2020, all  Starbucks branches in the US and Canada will offer them, the firm announced.

The innovative lids contain 9 percent less plastic than the current ones, Starbucks said.

However, as Rebecca Zimmer, Starbucks' global director of environment pointed out, the company has a long way to go before being satisfied with the more environmentally-friendly cup. 

Starbucks' team has been working hard to understand how these cups technologies better and to investigate how they flow into the waste management infrastructures, Zimmer explained.

Starbucks is also planning to redesign all its stores to catch up with the increasing mobile pick-up and delivery orders, Johnson added. Changes will vary depending on the location, the CEO explained. For instance, if there are three Starbucks shops in one neighborhood, one can offer delivery while another will turn into a to-go format.

What do you think? Shall we expect a similar move from Starbucks' competitors?