Every year, Starbucks sends 4 billion nonrecyclable paper cups to landfills

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/06/19/4-billion-starbucks-cups-landf.html


Petitioning a company?

Man, just don’t buy their stuff and/or elect politicians who pass laws to your liking,


So it is just Starbucks? What about Dunkin Donuts? Hortons? McDonalds? Panera? etc etc.


Well. Shit. I’ve been putting mine in the composting. I didn’t realize.


It’s a bit surprising because you can BUY easily compostable cups. The tech’s already there.

I’m not a materials engineer so presumably there’s something there other than cost, but I buy compostable cups myself when I need to-go cups for my coffee.



You don’t need to petition starbucks you need to contact your local recyclers to get with it and be able to handle newer materials

these cups ARE recyclable. our system in my town is fully able to handle and process these cups.


I wonder what the percentage breakdown is here. Is this a few holdouts or the vast majority?

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I am guessing its a slow rollout as were only able to do this in the past two years with our system.

Types of acceptable paper cups
Paper cups with a thin plastic lining (polyethylene also known as a ‘polycoat’) are acceptable. These cups are single-use and are disposable. This includes the take out coffee cups commonly found at coffee shops like Starbucks, Tim Horton’s and McDonald’s. Fountain pop cups or soft drink cups can also be recycled and are commonly found at food courts and fast food restaurants.

What we cannot do are the lids even tho they say they are recyclable, as they are too small/light to get sorted properly and our recycling department for the city says to throw them in the black bin.

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What about metallized plastic? Is there any hope for recycling that? Seems like every form of junk food now comes wrapped in metallized plastic — bags of chips, candy bars, if its an opaque plastic wrapper 99 times of 100 its metallized. Last I checked that was totally non recycled.


I did the responsible thing and got reusable plastic containers for our kids.

Then I found out that they leach all sorts of endocrine-disrupting enzymes. So we switched to glass containers.

My kids broke those. So we switched back to the plastic containers with the understanding that we shouldn’t heat them in the microwave or wash them in high temps.

But my kids keep losing the lids.

So now I am stuck with the following compromise: if each reusable container keeps X-thousand plastic bags out of landfills, and my kids can’t seem to make a reusable container last more than six months, aren’t I better off just using the baggies that are more efficiently manufactured?

I feel the same way when people give me a reusable bag that I’ll never use. “Oh, this bag is equivalent to ten thousand grocery bags,” they’ll say. But if I went around giving people ten housand grocery bags for promotional purposes I’d be lableled as an environmental terrorist.

How many paper cups does it take to offset one stainless steel reusable mug? Is it actually worth it given how often they break/get lost?

This is the main reason I am hugely in favor of pressuring companies to make disposable stuff truly disposable; my nagging suspicion is that it’s actually the more environmentally friendly approach.


OK, I think, as the consumers of all those cups, we need to take responsibility and fix this ourselves.
Bring your own damn cup!
Waiting for them to make the change is silly. We need to create change in our own habits, while voicing our displeasure.
We want them to do the right thing but are unwilling to do the same?
“Had to edit this 3 times. Typing on my phone makes for a sharp drop of IQ I can ill afford.”


Starbucks not only sells a very decent reusable cup, but offers a discount if you bring your own cup.

They’re actively trying to encourage people not to use disposable cups.

And as others have mentioned, the recyclability of their existing cups varies from place to place. I understand that my local facilities can handle them.


In Canada, Starbucks were a little underhanded, however. They made a great show of setting up recycling bins specifically for their disposable cups. This prompted a great number of inquiries from interested parties into how they solved the problem of separating the wax from their paper cups since that is the biggest problem blocking anyone else from recycling them.

Turns out the “recycled” cups were just being taken to landfill after all.


I’ve been putting mine in the composting, too, or at least I used to until I read the recycling guidelines that suggested that they should go in the recycling. It’s all very confusing.

I stick with my reusable cup, though I can’t use it all the time.

… but the 100% oil-based polyethylene plastic linings – made by Dow and Chevron, among others…

Oh noes, not Dow and Chevron! It’s like Agent Orange and an oil spill rolled into one semi-biodegradeable coffee cup!


The recycling/composting rules around Seattle are … arcane, to say the least. Every single bin seems to be labeled differently. And often change without notice.

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What about huge plastic cold drink cups inserted into large foam cups to keep them from sweating everywhere? How are those for the environment? Bad?

I see this more and more at Dunkin Donuts now that summer is here.

I wonder how many millions of trees have to be planted to fulfil;this requirement?

95% of it will return to the soil, it is just the plastic lining that will not break down.