Estimates suggest that Starbucks is responsible for about 8,000 non-recyclable cups heading to landfills every minute.
That’s a substantial impact on the environment.
Stand.earth has decided to bring some attention to the issue, and they’re doing it in a “monstrous” way. The activist group has constructed a giant monster made from used Starbucks cups. Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson was speaking at an event earlier this month and the giant “cup” monster could be seen patrolling in front of the hotel.
Stand.earth has named the monster “Grounds,” and their ultimate goal is to bring the waste issue to the forefront of consumers’ minds. The issue with the current cups is that they contain a small plastic liner that modern recycling machines have a hard time separating from the paper. While a few major urban areas have figured out how to process the cups, it puts only a very small dent in the overall problem.
Starbucks is fully cognizant of the issue, and the company has acknowledged it as their number one environmental liability. They’ve experimented with recycling solutions, but so far they haven’t been able to come up with anything sustainable.
Almost 10 years ago now, Starbucks pledged to utilize only 100% recyclable cups by 2015, as well as to have developed a customer base who used their own reusable mugs at least 25% of the time. As of 2013 the cup solution still wasn’t solved, and Starbucks reduced its “reusable mug” goal to having only 5% of its customers use them. When 2015 rolled around the recyclable cup problem still existed and only about 1% of its customers were using their own mug.
If you’re utterly shocked that modern technology hasn’t given companies like Starbucks the solution to something as seemingly simple as a recyclable cup you’re not alone. Maybe we just need a few more giant monsters patrolling the streets to draw attention to the issue.