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Starbucks invests $10m to create truly sustainable cups

Climate Action | Mar 27, 2018

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This article was originally published by Climate Action and is republished with permission.

Starbucks has joined forces with investors Closed Loop Partners on a new initiative to ensure its cups are fully sustainable and part of the growing circular economy.


The coffee chain has launched what it calls a “moon shot” challenge to make its cups compostable and recyclable, with a target date of three years.

Colleen Chapman, who oversees sustainability at the company, said “no one is satisfied with the incremental industry progress made to date, it’s just not moving fast enough”. As a result, it is declaring “a moon shot for sustainability to work together as an industry to bring a fully recyclable and compostable cup to the market”.

The company is committing $10 million on its journey to develop global solutions across its entire supply chain, which will hopefully ensure all cups across its 28,000 locations are diverted from landfill, composted, or given “a second life as another cup, napkins, or even a chair”, according to a statement.

The ‘NextGen Cup Challenge’ will award grants to those people who could make this a reality. The company is already undertaking its own work on the issue, such as a six-month trial of a new ‘bio-liner’ made partially from plant-based materials for its paper cup. Its current cups are currently manufactured with 10 percent recycled fibre.
 
“Through this partnership, the Challenge will enable leading innovators and entrepreneurs with financial, technical, and expert resources to fast-track global solutions, help get those solutions to shelf, through the recovery system and back into the supply chain” said Rob Kaplan, managing director of Closed Loop Partners.
 
“Starbucks and the Closed Loop Partners are undertaking complex issues in the sourcing and recovery of materials, looking to protect the environment and future wealth of our natural resources”, said Erin Simon, director of sustainability research & development and material science at World Wildlife Fund.

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