Starbucks will launch fully recyclable cups by 2022, a move to be more eco-friendly but doesn’t address the real problem, consumer behavior.

WHAT HAPPENED: Starbucks is introducing biodegradable cup liners and PFAS-free containers.


  • Instead of developing recyclable cups, Starbucks should focus on converting its customers to reusable cups. Over a decade ago, Starbucks set a goal to serve 25% of its drinks in reusable containers by 2015, which it missed—achieving 1.4% by 2018. Also, in 2018 Starbucks tested adding a small charge for paper cups in the UK, but hasn’t rolled this out in the U.S. yet. Instead of creating more waste, albeit recyclable, Starbucks could implement greater rewards for customers who bring their own cups. Because the brand is routine for most of its customers, Starbucks is a prime use case for reusable cups, which could benefit the beverage industry as a whole. Eliminating waste is better than just reducing it.