Starbucks: We want a #BetterCup

Starbucks serves 4 billion+ disposable papers cups a year. That’s 8,000+ cups a minute–cut from more than a million trees!

We will deliver the letter directly to CEO Kevin Johnson at Starbucks Seattle headquarters.

Dear Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson:

Starbucks is a leading company -- but one that has fallen very far behind when it comes to your commitment to protect forests. Six years ago, Starbucks set a bold goal when you said you would serve coffee in recyclable cups and increase the amount of coffee you serve in reusable cups from less than 2% to more than 25%.

While you’ve talked a lot about your initiative and environmental commitment, you’ve failed to deliver. The four billion disposable coffee cups that you serve every year, and the million trees cut to make them, exact a huge toll on our forests and our climate. 

We can’t accept that, and neither should you. That’s why Stand launched our Better Cup campaign. It’s time for Starbucks to serve up a better cup! 

I am calling on you to:

  • Recommit to 100% recyclable cups. Your 2008 goal was to serve a recyclable cup by 2015. That did not happen and today, billions of your cups still go straight to the garbage. The plastic lining inside your cup makes it almost impossible to recycle with regular paper. You need to develop a cup that can be recycled across North America and globally with the existing technology in recycling facilities.
  • Recommit to 25% reusable cups. Reusable cups are the most responsible approach, but currently, you serve less than 2% of your hot drinks in reusable mugs. You can do a lot more to help customers make the switch. We know that you have tried offering inexpensive reusable cups and incentives for customers who bring their own mug. But those efforts haven’t been enough to move coffee drinkers. It's time to get serious about incentives and get more people participating.
  • Commit to 100% recycled. Currently, 90% of the paper in each Starbucks cup is made from trees that are cut, used once, and then thrown away. We know that neither you, your employees, nor your customers are satisfied with this wasteful approach. We also know you can change it. On the path toward 100% recycled/tree-free cups, Starbucks must shift toward more sustainable fiber certified by the Forest Stewardship Council and eliminate the use of tree fiber certified only by the logging industry through its bogus Sustainable Forestry Initiative.

Starbucks has proven that it can be a global leader, shifting the coffee sector toward greater sustainability. It’s time to recommit to solving the Starbucks cup problem.

For the sake of our forests, our climate, and our planet, it’s time to serve up a better cup!