Starbucks Sets Greener Goals for its Cups

March 20, 2019, 3:25 PM UTC

Starbucks is taking another step toward going green.

After pledging last year to phase out plastic straws from all of its locations by 2020, Starbucks announced plans this week to test recyclable and compostable cups. The coffee chain aims to “double the recycled content, recyclability and compostability, and reusability” of its cups and packaging by 2022.

Starbucks uses around 7 billion cups each year, and while the cups can be recycled, their plastic lining makes it difficult. So now Starbucks is going to test a variety of different cups over the next year in several key markets, including New York, San Francisco, Seattle, London, and Vancouver.

The cup designs will be chosen from among the winners of the NextGen Cup Challenge, launched last year by Starbucks and Closed Loop Partners to bring together entrepreneurs, industry leaders, and recyclers to develop recyclable and/or compostable cup solutions.

Plans to test and scale these greener cups supplement Starbucks’ pre-existing plans to replace plastic straws with more sustainable alternatives. The chain this summer will roll out redesigned recyclable strawless lids for its cold drinks in several cities across the U.S. and Canada, with plans to reach the rest of the two countries by early 2020. Eventually, Starbucks plans to distribute straws made from alternative materials, with plastic straws available upon request for those who need them.