Jim Hanna of Starbucks Discusses Sustainability and the Anatomy of a Starbucks Cup

Jim Hanna is the Director of Environmental Impact at Starbucks. He was one of many speakers that attended the 2011 Sustainable Packaging Symposium March 16-18th at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago, IL. In the video to the right, Jim Hanna provides a brief overview on the anatomy of a Starbucks cup and the recycling initiative Starbucks has developed to promote sustainability.

Jim Hanna states the following in his abstract: "In 2009, Starbucks set an ambitious goal that all of our single-serve cups would be recyclable or reusable by 2015. Unlike a number of recent marketing campaigns, we do not define "recyclable" based on any particular material that comprises the components of our cups, but rather on our customers' actual access to recycling services in the places where they choose to dispose of the cups. This includes within Starbucks stores, in residential locations, offices, and public spaces. This definition of recyclable is consistent with the Federal Trade Commission's Green Guides, which indicate that a product should not be called recyclable unless a significant majority of users have readily-available access to recycling service for the product."

The 2011 Sustainable Packaging Symposium was presented by Greener Package and the AIChE Institute for Sustainability.

Do you think Starbucks' competitors have the same sustainability standards?


Michelle, this is a great post. I&#039;m happy to know how devoted Starbucks is to sustainability standards. One interesting cup I noticed that is from a competitor in Europe and other parts of the world is from Costa coffee. The design includes the ridges that cup holders normally have, eliminating the need to add a sleeve on to the cup. Not sure whether this was intended to avoid waste or just because it looks good but it seems like a good idea to me. Here&#039;s a photo: <a href="http://flic.kr/p/7AiB7v" rel="nofollow">http://flic.kr/p/7AiB7v</a>

Michelle's picture

Thanks John! I read a little more about Costa recycling initiative here: <a href="http://www.costa.co.uk/coffee/recycling_cups.aspx" rel="nofollow">http://www.costa.co.uk/coffee/recycling_cups.aspx</a>. It echoes what Jim Hanna said about how companies can provide a recyclable product, but it&#039;s really what the consumer with disposing the product does that ultimately determines &quot;recyclable&quot;. Here&#039;s another cool coffee cup that has a built in sleeve: <a href="http://www.design21sdn.com/attachments/0074/0915/FinPage_282_.jpg?1291564146" rel="nofollow">http://www.design21sdn.com/attachments/0074/0915/...</a>. I think I actually prefer this design to Costa&#039;s.

jvasko's picture

Thanks for the link. It looks like Costa is doing it too. The most eco-friendly would be if people would all line up at Starbucks with their thermos and have them fill it. Obviously, the amount would have to be based on what they order - tall, grande, venti. When I was in Portland, OR I noticed that&#039;s what people did.