Starbucks Makes Big Change to Its Cups

The company's goal is to reduce waste.

The amount of plastic used in cups at Starbucks will soon be reduced by 20% in the United States. Most Starbucks customers probably won't notice. The chain will now offer lids as a one-size-fits-all, with smaller cups likely to be wider.

"Engineers tested thousands of iterations to see how much plastic they could remove while still making the cup feel sturdy," said Amelia Landers, Starbucks' vice president of product innovation, the New York Post reports. This comes after a four years process to do so, The Daily Mail reported. It's part of the company's plan to offer reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging by 2030. The goal is to reduce waste by 50%.

Starbucks consumers reportedly throw out 35 million pounds in plastic annually. The New York Post reports the current cups are made with polypropylene (PP), which is the easiest plastic to recycle. But the decomposition process still takes roughly 20 to 30 years.

It's unknown if Starbucks will be changing materials, or using less of the same. An advocacy group known as the Plastic Pollution Coalition, which works to end plastic waste on a global scale, says Starbucks is doing the right thing with this move. But they can do better.

"Starbucks and other food and beverage retailers need to shift away from single-use and instead rapidly prioritize plastic-free reuse in stainless steel, glass, or ceramic cups for both customers who stay in and take out," a statement issued by the group read, as noted by the New York Post.