Starbucks and McDonald’s Develop Sustainable Cup

Starbucks and McDonald’s Develop Sustainable Cup

The fight on disposable dishware continuous. We all know that this thing is not good for the environment. Hence, not good for us. This is not just something that customers should be doing. But also, the food vendors and seller across the globe. Now, Starbucks and McDonald’s are teaming up in developing a more sustainable cup.

Starbucks’s more sustainable cup.

Starbucks Cup
Starbucks cup photographed on Friday, March 16, 2018. (Joshua Trujillo, Starbucks)

It is roughly about 600 billion paper and plastic cups are used globally each year. Starbucks claimed that only 1 per cent of total of paper and plastic cups are theirs. But it doesn’t stop them to make progress in sustainability area. “We are declaring a moon shot for sustainability to work together as an industry to bring a fully recyclable and compostable cup to the market, with a here-year ambition,” said Collen Chapman, VP of Starbuck global social impact.

Starbucks together with Closed Loop Partner and its Center for the Circular Economy to create consortium to launch the NextGen Cup Challenge. This hopefully would allow cups around the world to be diverted from landfills and composted. even better, it could give a second life as another cup, napkin, or even a chair. Basically, anything that can use recycled material.

The coffee chain has committed 10 million dollars for the consortium. It will award accelerator grants to entrepreneurs working on ideas for the cup. It invites industry participation and partnership on the way to identifying a global solution.

As starter, NextGen focuses on creating sustainable fiber-based hot and cold cups before seeking solutions for lids and straws. This program kicks off in September and invites innovators, entrepreneurs and experts to submit their plans. While the collaboration between Starbucks and Closed Loop began in March.

Years ago, the coffee giant served double stacked paper cup for hot drinks. The reason? For the sake of its customers’ fingertips. this act meant double the waste the company contributed. Till in 1997, Starbucks introduced a corrugated paper coffee sleeve. It was made from 60 per cent postconsumer recycled fiber. this sleeve replaces the second cup ever since.

McDonalds wants more sustainable cup too.

McDonald's Paper Cup
McDonald’s Paper Cup

On July 17, 2018 a press release by Starbucks announces that McDonald joins Starbucks as founding member of The NextGen Cup Consortium and Challenge. This follows the commitment both companies made to drive innovation in their packaging and help reduce waste.

McDonald’s gave 5 million dollars donation to the program. “McDonald’s is committed to using our scale for good to make positive changes that impact our planet and the communities we serve,” said Marion Gross, senior VP and chief supply chain officer at McDonald’s USA.

Back in the day, the fast food company had used polystyrene foam beverage cups. Then, in 2013 it transitioned to fiber-based paper cup for its hot drinks. The company plans on using 100 per cent fiber-based packaging globally by 2020. As for now, according to McDonald’s, fiber-based packaging currently makes up over half of all cups, wrappings, containers and tray.

Sustainable Cup, The NextGen Cup

Coffee cup
Coffee cup

First, the program focuss on creating fiber-based hot and cold cups. After that is done, it move to second focus. Which is seeking solutions for lids and straws. As the food industry is now under increasing pressure to reduce plastic in packaging and single-use items such as straws. The program aims to develop a cup that could be mass produced from materials that are recyclable, compostable or both.

Any development throughout the program will be open source. Meaning others can use the innovation. Other can benefit and innovate on the path toward the development around the world.

“A better cup will benefit the entire industry and we invite others to join us as we move this effort forward,” said Colleen Chapman.

Sustainable options for straw.

Starbucks Strawless Lid
Starbucks Strawless Lid

Not long after announcing their movement toward a more sustainable cup, Starbucks said they would eliminate plastic straws globally by 2020. These straws will then be replaced by new recyclable strawless lid and alternative-material straw options.

The company expect this move will eliminate more than one billion plastic straws per year from its operated and licensed stores.

Currently, Starbucks has manufactured a strawless lid for ice coffee, tea and espresso beverages. It is available in stores in the U.S and Canada. Currently t is for selected beverages such as Starbucks Draft Nitro and Cold Foam. Soon, countries such as China, Japan, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam will have this lid available too.

One the other hand, plastic straw elimination and implementation for strawless lid will begin this year. Seattle and Vancouver will be the first to have this lid starting this fall. Then throughout the U.S and Canada. While changes in Europe will begin in France and Netherlands, as well as in the UK.

In addition, Frappuccino blended beverages will come with straws made from alternative materials. This includes paper or compostable plastic.

McDonald's Straw
McDonald’s Straw

Same thing happens at McDonald. The company is to move away from plastic straws in the UK and Ireland restaurants. It will start in September and will be completed by 2019. That means, the company needs to find a solution to replace the plastic straws.

Hence, the company has started to test alternatives in Belgium. It will do the same to countries such as the U.S, France, Australia, Norway, Sweden and Malaysia. It would also offer straws only when costumers request it.

Public Reaction on Plastic Straws

plastic straw
Plastic Straws

Nevertheless, the news regarding Starbucks eliminates plastic straws has raised concerns among disability right groups. They believe this could negatively affect people with disabilities. Starbucks responded and has spoken with some of the representative of the groups.

In newer released statement, the coffee chain will continue to offer straws for those who request them. “We take an inclusive design approach to all packaging to ensure that all customers will be able to enjoy their Starbucks beverages,” the statement read.

However, it is still unclear what the straw will be made of. An open letter posted on Facebook by Disability Right Washington highlight the importance of plastic straws. This letter posted alter Seattle ban restaurants from giving out plastic straws and utensils unless requested.

“Other types of straws simply do not offer the combination of strength, flexibility and safety that plastic straws do. Metal straws become hot or cold and offer a risk of injury. Some people…will bite through paper straws and they dissolve if the person takes too long to drink and so forth,” the letter read.





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