The Secret of the Starbucks Cup

Tuesday June 13, 2017

Most people reasonably believe Starbucks cups are recyclable.

We assume a cup tossed in a recycling bin will get recycled and turned into a new paper product.

In fact, the ubiquitous white Starbucks paper coffee cup cannot be recycled because it is lined with plastic, which means that it cannot be recycled in standard paper recycling facilities.'s report “Trashed: The Secret of the Starbucks Cup” highlights Starbucks’ broken promises on cup recycling. In 2008, the company committed to stop destroying forests by making a 100% recyclable cup and encouraging the use of reusable cups. Nine years later, at the time we published this report, Starbucks still had done almost nothing to meet these commitments. But in 2018, the day before its annual shareholder meeting, Starbucks announced a new commitment to create a recyclable cup by 2021. Read our response.

Read the press release: Secret of the Starbucks Cup Revealed