Take Action Home >

Join the Movement to End Coffee Cup Pollution

4,839 signatures toward our 30,000 Goal

16.13% Complete

Sponsor: The Rainforest Site

Together, we can reduce coffee cup waste and protect our planet. Sign the pledge and be part of the solution!

Starbucks, a company that heavily relies on mobile and drive-thru orders, is facing a pressing climate problem due to the massive waste generated by disposable coffee cups1. In response, Starbucks has set an ambitious goal to allow customers to use reusable cups for all types of orders, including drive-thru and mobile, across all U.S. locations2. This represents a significant shift in their approach, as currently, Starbucks estimates that it uses a staggering 6 billion disposable cups annually, comprising 40% of its packaging waste3.

Extending the Reusable Cup Initiative

Since 1985, Starbucks has at times incentivized customers to bring their own reusable cups to store counters, offering a 10-cent discount4. However, the game-changing move is extending this initiative to drive-thru and mobile orders. The success factors driving this change include the rising demand for cold drinks. Cold beverages, typically served in plastic cups, now surpass hot drinks in terms of orders5. The shift towards mobile and drive-thru ordering prompted the need for innovative solutions to reduce waste while maintaining efficiency.

Promoting Awareness and Education

Starbucks acknowledges that there is a lack of awareness among consumers and employees about the availability and benefits of reusable cups6. By replacing the symbol of waste—the disposable cup—with a reusable alternative, Starbucks aims to set an example for the entire industry.

The Future of Sustainability at Starbucks

The success of Starbucks' reusable cup program ultimately relies on consumer behavior. Encouraging customers to bring their own reusable cups and implementing charges for disposable cups are key strategies to drive meaningful change and make sustainable practices the default way of serving coffee7. As industry leaders, Starbucks' efforts have far-reaching implications, inspiring smaller cafes to follow suit and adopt sustainable operations8.

Take Action for a Clean Planet

You can play an essential role in reducing coffee cup waste and protecting the environment. Let's join Starbucks in its commitment to sustainable practices and work towards a future where our coffee rituals are not marred by unnecessary waste.

Add your name to the coffee cup pledge and make a difference today!

More on this issue:

  1. Kaitlin Balasaygun, CNBC (3 June 2023), "Starbucks’ iconic coffee cup has a climate problem as mobile, drive-thru orders boom."
  2. Jillian Giandurco, Elite Daily (17 March 2022), "Starbucks' Shift to Reusables Includes Allowing Personal Cups for Mobile Orders."
  3. Agnès Le Rouzic & John Yum, Greenpeace (30 April 2021), "Plastic pollution is a global problem – Starbucks needs to take global action."
  4. Natasha Gabrielle, The Ascent (19 April 2022), "Starbucks Will Give You a Discount and Rewards if You Bring Your Own Cup Starting Friday."
  5. Grace Dean, Business Insider (28 July 2021), "3 in 4 drinks Starbucks sells are now cold rather than hot. One barista said the coffee chain was becoming a 'frappuccino factory.'"
  6. Starbucks (8 June 2022), "Starbucks brings back personal reusable cups to Starbucks cafes in the U.S.."
  7. Amelia Lucas, CNBC (15 March 2022), "Starbucks unveils new plans to eliminate single-use cups, encourage reusable mugs."
  8. Kate Vandeveld, Why Whisper Collective (24 September 2015), "Corporate Social Responsibility: How Starbucks Is Making an Impact."
To Top

The Pledge:

I acknowledge the staggering pollution caused by coffee cups, particularly those used by major producers like Starbucks, and realize that it is time for us, as individuals, to take responsibility and make a change.

To fulfill this commitment, I will take the following urgent actions:

  1. Embrace Reusables: I will bring my own reusable coffee cup whenever I visit a café or coffee shop. By using my own cup, I eliminate the need for disposable cups and contribute to reducing waste.
  2. Spread Awareness: I will educate my friends, family, and colleagues about the environmental impact of coffee cup pollution. I will emphasize the importance of making sustainable choices and encourage them to join me in this pledge.
  3. Opt for Dine-In: Whenever possible, I will choose to enjoy my coffee inside the café or sit down for a few minutes to savor my drink. By avoiding takeaway cups, I can significantly reduce waste.
  4. Support Local Cafes: I will seek out and support local coffee shops that prioritize sustainability and offer eco-friendly alternatives, such as compostable or reusable cups. Together, we can promote sustainable practices in the coffee industry.
  5. Participate in Recycling Programs: I will actively seek out coffee shops that have dedicated recycling programs for their disposable cups. By properly disposing of these cups in designated recycling bins, I can contribute to the circular economy.
  6. Encourage Refill Policies: I will advocate for refill policies at my favorite coffee shops, encouraging them to offer discounts or incentives for customers who bring their own cups. This not only reduces waste but also motivates others to adopt sustainable practices.
  7. Educate Myself: I will stay informed about the latest developments in sustainable coffee cup alternatives and the environmental impact of disposable cups. Through knowledge and understanding, I can actively contribute to the conversation and support innovative solutions.
  8. Support Policy Changes: I will lend my voice to advocate for policy changes that promote reusable alternatives and reduce coffee cup pollution. By supporting initiatives such as deposit systems or extended producer responsibility, we can create a more sustainable future.
  9. Compost Coffee Grounds: I will responsibly dispose of coffee grounds by composting them. This practice not only reduces waste but also enriches the soil and supports a more sustainable ecosystem.
  10. Inspire Coffee Shops: I will reach out to local coffee shops, sharing my commitment to reducing coffee cup pollution and encouraging them to adopt sustainable practices.

By reducing coffee cup pollution, we not only minimize the harm to our environment but also preserve the beauty of our planet for future generations.

Together, through these actions, we can make a significant difference in reducing coffee cup pollution. We have the power to shift the narrative, transforming our coffee rituals into moments of environmental consciousness. Our urgent, collective effort is crucial in ensuring a cleaner, greener future for generations to come.

Pledged by,

To Top