Starbucks Brews Up First FDA-Approved Recycled-Content Cup

Starbucks Brews Up First FDA-Approved Recycled-Content Cup

Starbucks Coffee Co. has received approval from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to use recycled content in food packaging, specifically Starbucks hot beverage cups. Following successful testing, Starbucks expects to convert its hot beverage cups to 10% recycled material, an industry first.

“Beginning to use post-consumer recycled content hot beverage cups is an important milestone for Starbucks in addressing the environmental impact associated with our paper-buying practices,” said Jim Donald, Starbucks ceo designate. “Starbucks goal is to convert hot cups in our U.S. company-operated retail stores by the end of calendar 2005. We will continue to explore ways to include recycled content in all Starbucks-branded paper goods in our stores.”

Starbucks collaborated for more than two years with its suppliers Solo Cup Company, MeadWestvaco, and Mississippi River Corporation to obtain approval from the FDA for the cups. For the first time in its history, the FDA granted this approval to Mississippi River Corporation and its customers, MeadWestvaco and Solo Cup Company, in September.

"We are tremendously excited to work with Starbucks, Solo Cup Company, and MeadWestvaco, on the introduction of the first-ever recycled content hot beverage cup containing FDA approved recycled pulp manufactured by our company," said Edward S. Logan III, Mississippi River Corporation president and ceo. "We, and our employees, are proud to partner with these fine companies and commend their environmental commitment."

After testing in early 2005 to validate performance, quality, and safety issues, Starbucks expects to convert the recycled content cups into retail stores in the U.S. The hot beverage cups will look and perform the same, but the new cup is expected to lower Starbucks' dependence on tree fiber by more than five million pounds a year.

“As Starbucks continues to grow and expand its presence around the globe, we are actively working to incorporate environmental considerations in our business operations,” said Ben Packard, Starbucks director of environmental affairs. “We hope to have other future ‘firsts’ as we continue to look for innovative ways to improve our environmental performance.”

“Starbucks should be commended for its ground-breaking efforts of working toward environmentally friendly packaging options that benefit both forests and the businesses that rely on them,” said David Ford, president and CEO of Metafore, a nonprofit group that collaborates with leaders in business and society to create innovative, market-based approaches that support forests and communities. “As a participant in our Paper Working Group project, Starbucks leadership in responsible purchasing of forest products gives other companies a clear path to follow.”

Starbucks has been participating in Metafore’s Paper Working Group to increase the company's use of environmentally preferable paper.