Recycling and Reducing Waste

Starbucks is committed to significantly reducing the waste our stores generate - especially when it comes to recycling.

Starbucks Recycling And Reducing Waste

We know this is important to our customers, to us and for our planet. In fact, we get more customer comments about recycling than any other environmental issue - especially when it comes to our cups.

Our Goal

By 2015 we plan to have recycling available in all of our stores where we control waste collection and serve 25% of beverages in reusable cups.

What We've Been Doing

Despite the many challenges, we've been tackling recycling and waste reduction on many fronts.

Recycling in Stores

In many of our stores, we recycle at least one type of waste where commercial recycling is available – but it's often happening behind the counter, out of sight to customers. Recycling is dependent on the availability of commercial recycling services where our stores are located. Unfortunately, some local communities that offer comprehensive residential recycling may provide minimal or no commercial recycling. And for stores operating out of leased spaces, it is the landlords who control waste collection and recycling.

However, we still have to focus on what we can do and how we can work with others to make recycling easier for us and for our customers.

Reusable Cups

Reducing the environmental impact of our cups depends on the success of two interrelated efforts: developing recyclable cup solutions and dramatically increasing our customers’ use of reusable cups. A lot of our customers are also working to reduce their own environmental impact even as we are. To help them help us, we offer a 10-cent discount in the US and Canada to encourage customers to use their own reusable mugs or tumblers for their beverages. Customers staying in a store can also request that their beverages be served in a ceramic mug. Every paper cup saved helps keep our forests intact. (Learn more about deforestation from our friends at Conservation International.)

Greener Cups

Over the years Starbucks has launched several initiatives to decrease the environmental impact of our disposable cups.

  • In 1997, we developed our recycled-content cup sleeve as a way to protect customers from hot beverages and avoid the waste of “double cupping.”
  • In 2006, we launched the industry’s first hot beverage paper cup with 10% post-consumer recycled fibre.
  • In 2008, we rolled out a new plastic cup that has less of an environmental impact than our original plastic cups.
  • In 2009, we hosted a Cup Summit in Seattle, bringing together all facets of our paper and plastic cup value chain to find agreement on criteria for a comprehensive recyclable cup solution.

We are committed to doing more and continue to search for new ways to reduce the environmental footprint of our disposable cups and other packaging.


We introduced Grounds for Your Garden in 1995, which offers customers complimentary five-pound (2.27-kilogram) bags of used coffee grounds to enrich garden soil. And where commercial composting is available, many stores are able to divert other food waste and coffee grounds from the landfill as well.

Lobbying Local Government

In 2010, we participated in the United States Conference of Mayors to find support for increased or improved commercial recycling opportunities across the country. We are excited about the opportunity to work with leading Mayors in solving the recycling challenge at a local level.