Starbucks Rolls Out Recyclable and Compostable Cups in Vancouver

The city is one of five around the world that will test-sip the new ecofriendly alternatives. 

March 20, 2019

By Lucy Lau / Photo: Starbucks

Starbucks is introducing recyclable and compostable cups to its stores in Vancouver as part of a pilot project that aims to green up the company’s operations.

The cups, which are among the winners in a global contest conducted last year by Closed Loop Partners that tasked innovators with creating an ecofriendly alternative to fibre to-go cups, will roll out at local Starbucks locations within the year. Various compostable single-use cup options, which are produced by groups in countries such as France, the Netherlands and Thailand, will be available to patrons.

Vancouver is one of five cities around the world that will take part in the pilot. It joins New York City, San Francisco, Seattle and London. “We love our coffee, there’s no doubt about that, but we also feel strongly about the environment,” Allen Langdon, president and CEO of Return-It and judge in the Closed Loop Partners contest, said in a media statement. “We live in one of the most beautiful places on earth and there’s a strong desire to protect what’s around us.”

Starbucks’s redesigned strawless lid will roll out in Vancouver by 2020.

Starbucks has also announced that it will debut a strawless lid in Toronto this summer. These “sippy cup” lids have been redesigned by the company so that they are more lightweight than the ones that have been used for iced Starbucks beverages in Vancouver and Seattle since July of last year. According to Starbucks, the new lids have nine percent less plastic than its standard lid-and-straw combo.

Vancouver, as well as other cities in the U.S. and Canada, will receive the redesigned strawless lid by early next year. Blended beverages will continue to use a recyclable plastic dome lid and plastic straw while Starbucks tests recyclable and compostable alternatives.

The Seattle-based coffee company has a goal of phasing out plastic straws at its more than 28,000 stores around the world by 2020. It’s also working toward doubling its recycled content by 2022. Starbucks says that, since 2006, its cups have been manufactured with 10 percent post-consumer recycled fibre, though their polyethylene plastic or wax linings make them difficult to recycle in some regions.

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