Howard Schultz on Environment


Paper sleeves instead of polystyrene coffee cups

In 1994, we assembled a Hot Cup Team. The primary alternative to paper cups is polystyrene, which insulates hot beverages far more effectively than paper. While it's technically possible to recycle polystyrene, it's impractical in many cities.

Switching to polystyrene would have saved Starbucks $5 million a year at that point in time. But we decided against it. It didn't solve the environmental issue, and it wasn't consistent with our image. [Starbuck invented paper sleeves instead]. We decided against polystyrene cups. It didn't solve the environmental issue, and it wasn't consistent with our image.

So we decided to test market a paper sleeve. Instead of two cups, we would slip a ring of corrugated cardboard around the middle of each paper cup of regular coffee. The sleeve used only about half as much material as a second cup and even contained some recycled paper.

Source: Pour Your Heart Into It, by Howard Schultz, p.303-304 , Jan 6, 1999

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