- Select Starbucks locations in the U.K. will be testing out a new recyclable coffee cup called Frugalpac with the potential for using it on a larger scale.
- The cup is designed with a thin film liner that is meant to be separated easily and allow for full recycling of the remaining paper component. Normal paper cups are lined with plastic and are hard to recycle using traditional methods.
- Approximately 2.5 billion paper coffee cups are used in the U.K. each year and it's estimated that only one in 400 are recycled.
Engineer Martin Myerscough has been working on the cup for the past two years and has already begun lining up potential accounts with other coffee shop chains and supermarkets. The issue has received much attention in the U.K., especially after packaging recycling standards were quietly changed this spring. The U.K.'s original statutory plastic packaging recycling goal was 57% by 2017, but that has now been dropped to 49% with a longer timeframe for reaching the original goal.
An industry coalition called the Paper Cup Recycling and Recovery Group was formed in 2014 to find ways to increase recycling rates by 2020. Members include Mars, Nestlé, Caffè Nero, Starbucks, McDonalds, and Pret a Manger.
While Starbucks has made advances on food waste through plans for leftover food donation, recycling has proven harder to figure out. In 2014, the company admitted that it would not be reaching previously stated recycling goals and an investigation by CBC News last year found that cups from Toronto locations were being sent to landfills. If Starbucks can find a way to successfully divert Frugalpac cups, and find a vendor that can properly recycle them, it could have big implications for the international company and other coffee chains.