Starbucks cups seem to stay in the news, either because someone is irate and think they are warring against religious holidays, or because there are hidden sizes that no one but the most devout of Starbucks drinkers knows about. This week, the controversial cups are finally down to make some good (or neutral, however you see it) news because the company is looking for ways to make a positive impact on the environment — and they’re willing to pay for it. The powers that be at Sbux have introduced the $10 million NextGen Cup Challenge initiative, which will give grants to researchers coming up with ways to create a truly 100% compostable coffee container.
“This is the first step in the development of a global end-to-end solution that would allow cups around the world to be diverted from landfills and composted or given a second life as another cup, napkin or even a chair – anything that can use recycled material,” the satement reads, noting that Starbucks paper cups currently are made with 10% post-consumer recycled fiber.
The problem with the current coffee cups isn’t the paper, it’s the lining for which cup constructors are having a hard time finding a fully recyclable solution, but Starbucks is hoping the grant will be an incentive to spur environmentally-conscious researchers on to find an alternative. The company is already trying to convince customers in some locations to use reuseable cups by charging for disposable cups, but since takeway cups are the most popular, finding a way to be able to fully recycle them is looking like the best option.
This announcement comes on the heels of other food companies heading toward less harmful options, including McDonald’s, PepsiCo, Dunkin Donuts, Evian, and Coca-Cola, who are all remixing their packaging to clean up landfills and reduce waste.