Starbucks Kills a Million Trees to Make 4 Billion Non-Recyclable “Paper” Cups Per Year

March 16, 2018 at 6:56 pm




Starbucks deceives customers into thinking they are recycling, but their “paper” cups are lined with plastic, so almost all of them end up in landfills

In 2008, Starbucks pledged to develop a 100-percent recyclable, biodegradable cup. Ten years later the company still hasn’t delivered, but quietly allows consumers to believe it has.




To this day, most customers assume their paper coffee cups are recyclable, their belief strengthened by the recycling receptacles offered in many Starbucks stores.

Little do they know, almost all of the 4 billion “paper” cups they try to recycle each year end up in a landfill.

That’s because the cups are lined with a thin coating of polyethylene plastic to prevent the paper from getting mushy.

Only 3 out of 350 paper recycling mills in the United States are equipped to deal with with plastic-coated paper. The other 347 send the cups straight to a landfill, saying the plastic would clog their machines.

We used to export most of our plastic-coated paper cups and cartons to China, but this year, the country banned their import.

This is especially disheartening because over a million trees are cut down each year to make these cups, whose high quality paper pulp could be reused again and again if it weren’t laced with plastic.

The environmental organization Stand.earth just went undercover at several Starbucks locations around Denver, where thousands of paper cups are thrown into recycle bins each day.

They caught a Starbucks’ employee on video pointing an undercover customer to an in-store recycling bin saying “the cups and the lids are all recyclable:”

But the team of undercover environmentalists put a tracking device on the cup, along with several others thrown in other Starbucks’ recycling bins and found they all ended up in local dumps.

The expose, published earlier this week, has prompted environmentalists to ramp up their campaign to get Starbucks to design a fully recyclable cup.

You can sign the petition here.

Fully recycled and recyclable paper coffee cups are available, but Starbucks thinks the government should spend billions of tax dollars on new recycling facilities instead of making the switch.