Previously, we used to live in a world where human impacts on the environment were constantly changing the face of our planet. Today, we live in a time when awareness of climate change has altered our lifestyle choices and has driven us to find ways for everyone to live lighter and better. The way we bathe, what we buy, what we use, how we travel, and spend our free time and work – all are now controlled by the philosophy of “sustainable living.” In fact, even global companies are shifting their priorities to also become more environmentally aware. Large corporations like Google, IKEA, Unilever, and Panasonic are known for their sustainability efforts in adopting sustainable business practices.
But, what about Starbucks?
As the largest and most famous coffeehouse chain, Starbucks uses more than 4 billion single-use coffee cups each year and studies have revealed that 99% of these cups are not recycled. But, the question that needs to be asked is: Can Starbucks cups be recycled?
Let’s find out!
Can Starbucks Cups Be Recycled?
It’s no secret that the world adores coffee. So much that it’s estimated that 2. 5 billion single-use coffee cups are discarded globally every year. While coffee is everyone’s favorite beverage, it is also important to remember that if you throw away one coffee cup per day, it adds up to 23 lbs of waste per year.
The only way to prevent “coffee pollution” is to recycle coffee cups. However, this is not possible with standard disposable coffee cups because they usually have a plastic liner. In Australia, for example, compostable coffee cups are used as a sustainable alternative to conventional coffee cups and yet the country’s existing composting facilities cannot process them effectively. This means that some coffee cups cannot be recycled and are, therefore a huge burden on our environment. On the other hand, experts have proved that Starbucks cups can be recycled.
Starbucks coffee cups are made of both plastic and paper. The material used to design Starbucks cups is called “polyethylene.” This polymer is a common plastic material used in toys, packaging film, grocery bags, squeeze bottles and many more. The good news is that this plastic material is recyclable, just like paper. So, recycling Starbucks coffee cups after use won’t be a problem.
As a consumer, you need to know that when your Starbucks coffee is recycled at the recycling center, it will be mixed with other types of products. For this reason, it is advisable to get rid of any food scraps or liquids and rinse the cup before putting it in the recycling bin.
Are Starbucks Cups Compostable?
Contrary to popular belief, Starbucks coffee cups are compostable because they are made up of polyethylene, a biodegradable material that can be broken down by microbes in a compost pile. Also, these coffee cups are compostable since they are made from polylactic acid (PLA) generated from corn.
Many people think that paperboard is challenging to recycle, but this is not true. When not contaminated with water, food or oil, paperboard is highly biodegradable. Some paperboard products can be specially treated to increase their biodegradation.
So, when composting Starbucks coffee cups, always remember that they should be separated from other plastics as they are not designed with the same materials.
Are Starbucks Cups Reusable?
The term “reuse” has become somewhat trendy and its usage has increased over the last couple of years or so. Like recycling, reusing items can cut down on the amount of waste produced and help us in reducing our environmental footprint.
Since many need Starbucks coffee to start their day, it is only fair for these coffee cups to be reused. If you want to learn more about how to reuse Starbucks coffee cups, click here!