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Starbucks Honored for Recycled-Content Cup

The National Recycling Coalition (NRC) has announced it will present its eighth annual "Recycling Works" award to Starbucks Coffee Company next January. The award honors organizations that represent leadership in recycling, conservation of the environment, and the fulfillment of the National Recycling Coalition's mission.

"We believe a healthy environment affects all people and that businesses are accountable to act responsibly," said Jim Donald, Starbucks president and CEO. "We [will] continue to minimize our environmental footprint across every level of our supply chain operations, from coffee bean to coffee cup."

The result of more than eight years of innovative research and testing, the introduction of Starbucks recycled-content cup in early 2006 is expected to lower the company's dependence on tree fiber annually by more than five million pounds.

Developing the recycled-content cup is just one of the company's environmental initiatives. A major participant in the Sustainable Packaging Coalition, Starbucks offers customers a ten-cent discount for using a re-usable commuter mug, generating a strong, loyal base of customers who practice waste prevention. In 2004, customers used commuter mugs 15.1 million times, avoiding 655,000 pounds of paper waste.

Starbucks also encourages customers to use coffee grounds, which make up 37% of the waste stream created by its stores, as a soil amendment by offering complimentary five-pound bags of used coffee grounds through its Grounds for Your Garden program.

“Starbucks has worked with its suppliers and customers since the company’s founding to implement a sustainability program that runs the gamut from waste prevention, recycling, and composting, to socially responsible buying guidelines for coffee and the implementation of measures aimed at reducing the company’s impact on global climate change,” says Kate Krebs, NRC executive director. “Most recently, Starbucks has shown incredible perseverance and leadership in working with its suppliers, Solo Cup Company, Mead-Westvaco and Mississippi River Corporation, to develop a paper coffee cup that contains 10% post-consumer recycled paper - a first for this industry. Now that Starbucks has successfully navigated the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval process, other companies can benefit from the same technology,” says Krebs.

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