Starbucks increasing paper cup recycling methods for its customers.
Starbucks is one of the largest coffee chains in the United States, and it has historically preached sustainability in many of its endeavors, notably by building new locations in accordance with LEED qualifications. The company looks to take their green initiatives a step further by giving its customers the option to recycle their paper cups in special receptacles that are separate from other forms of waste. Starbucks has already instituted these bins at 30 of its Boston locations, but the commercial viability of recycling these cups may be a bigger issue, according to MotherNatureNetwork.com.
"You can collect all this stuff," Christine Beling of the Environmental Protection Agency, told the news source. "But unless you have someone to buy it from you, who cares?"
Starbucks has already made great strides to make its cups out of recycled paper instead of the styrofoam products that other large chains use. The inherent problem with recycling the cups is that most recycling companies don't have the ability to separate the paper from the inner lining of the cup, which is designed to stop liquids from leaking out. However, the company has enlisted the help of a handful of recycling businesses, and it hopes to take some of that recycled paper and make it into napkins for its customers.
"The focus is often, 'What can I do to the cup to make it more recyclable?'" Jim Hanna, Starbucks' director of environmental impact, told the news source. "What's more important is, 'What can I do to the infrastructure to make these cups more recyclable.'"
These recycling initiatives are a great step forward for the food industry, and thankfully Starbucks is leading the way by following its products from the barista's hands to the recycling bin.