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Global Coffee Purveyors Discuss Disposable Cups

Disposable Cup for Cup Summit 3In the coffee industry, where boasts of sustainability and environmental friendliness are heard at every stage from the source to consumer, the disposable coffee cup remains somewhat of a black eye.

That issue was recently addressed at Cup Summit 3 — a Starbucks-organized summit that included leaders from other top global coffee purveyors including Dunkin’ Donuts and Tim Hortons — on the campus of MIT.

According to Forbes contributor Mindy Lubber, several clear messages emerged from the summit.

Customers are hollering for more sustainable alternatives. “It’s a critical customer issue for us,’” says Starbucks VP of Global Responsibility Ben Packard, “and it’s also a critical brand issue. We can’t tell stories about protecting the tropical forests until we address the issue that’s right in front of us.’”

But Lubber also pointed out that many customers still prefer the performance of their favorite disposable cups, with no regard for the waste they create. There’s also the issue of recycling infrastructure, which is woefully lacking, if you consider a company like Starbucks serves up at least 4 million disposable cups per year:

Some said good solutions don’t yet exist at scale. Dunkin’ Brands Supply Chain Manager Joe Hellyar calls the lack of recycling infrastructure “a major hurdle” that – along with cost and unresolved questions on alternative materials – leaves his company “quite a way” from solutions.

The full story: Forbes 



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