A six-week pilot project involving Starbucks, International Paper and Mississippi River Pulp has shown that used paper cups can successfully be recycled into new paper cups. The results bring Starbucks closer to meeting its goal of having 100% of its cups be reusable or recyclable by 2015.
“This innovation represents an important milestone in our journey,” says Jim Hanna, Starbucks' director of Environmental Impact. “Our next step is to test this concept in a major city, which we plan to do in collaboration with International Paper and Mississippi River in 2011.”
While some communities already recycle paper cups, most do not have the infrastructure in place to handle collection, hauling, and processing due to a lack of demand for cup material by the recycling industry. To date, Mississippi River is the only pulp mill in the U.S. that has successfully recycled used cups into fiber suitable for producing new cups.
Starbucks launched what it says is the industry’s first paper cup containing post-consumer recycled fiber (PCF) in 2006, following several years of collaboration with Mississippi River. While the company’s standard paper cups contain PCF made from office paper, the PCF used for the pilot project incorporates cup material.