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Starbucks ‘struggling’ with recycling targets

United States – While coffee shop powerhouse Starbucks has managed to implement its front-of-store recycling programme in more than a dozen markets and municipalities across the USA and Canada, it has not made the desired progress towards the 100% packaging recycling target set for next year.

In 2013, 39% of Starbucks′ company-operated stores in the USA and Canada were able to offer front-of-store recycling. Of these locations, 71% were able to recycle or compost the new recyclate-containing hot cup, meaning that 1200 more venues supported the recycling effort compared to the previous year.

′We have struggled to implement this single solution in local markets across the entire Starbucks portfolio,′ the company concludes in its Global Responsibility Report 2013. ′While we continue to see a strong 90% acceptance rate for our cold cups, we saw a decline in overall acceptance of our hot cup due to limitations of recycling technology in several local markets.′

Inconsistent public policy, a limited market for the recycled end-products, lacking infrastructure and operational challenges are cited as other concerns. The company plans to tackle this issue together with the Paper Recovery Alliance while tailoring the existing recycling programme to ′accommodate varying regional requirements when possible′.

But since most of its customers take their beverages to go, recyclability of its packaging is ′highly dependent′ on local government policies that promote or mandate recycling. ′We cannot do this work alone,′ the company argues.

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