Cup Monster takes to Starbucks headquarters, Pike Place Market to highlight how coffee giant is all trick and no treat

October 31, 2017

When it comes to dealing with it’s biggest environmental liability — its non-recyclable paper cup — Starbucks is all trick and no treat.

SEATTLE, WA — This Halloween, supporters will gather at Starbucks headquarters, the original Starbucks store at Pike Place Market, and several Starbucks locations throughout downtown Seattle for a fun morning of trick or treating as part of the Better Cup campaign, highlighting Starbuck’s failed 2008 commitment to make a 100% recyclable paper cup. 

The gathering will feature a visit from the popular Starbucks Cup Monster, named “Grounds,” a 10+ foot tall monster made of more than 1,000 used Starbucks cups. Supporters dressed for Halloween as Starbucks baristas will hand out candy and share information about the Better Cup campaign with Starbucks employees and curious onlookers.

“Today we’re highlighting that when it comes to dealing with it’s biggest environmental liability — its non-recyclable paper cup — Starbucks is all trick and no treat,” said Ross Hammond of “If Starbucks truly wants to be a sustainability leader, it needs to keep its promise and serve a 100% recyclable paper cup.”

The Cup Monster has made several Seattle appearances in recent months, including the Starbucks shareholder meeting in March, the Seafair Festival in July (which is sponsored by Starbucks) and the Geekwire Summit in October, where CEO Kevin Johnson took the stage.

WHEN & WHERE: Tuesday, October 31, at several locations in downtown Seattle
    •    7:30-9 a.m.: Starbucks Center, 2401 Utah Avenue South
    •    9-10:30 a.m.: Cup Monster on the move, traveling by foot
    •    10:30 a.m.-noon: Pike Place Starbucks Store, 1912 Pike Pl., and several Starbucks locations throughout downtown Seattle 

Track the Cup Monster’s location on Twitter using #BetterCup or by following @standearth.

WHY: Starbucks customers assume their paper cups are recyclable, but this is not true in most cases.’s 2017 report, “Trashed: The Secret of the Starbucks Cup”, explains how Starbucks cups cannot be processed in most recycling facilities because of their plastic lining. Instead, most of the 4+ billion cups Starbucks serves annually end up in landfills. Starbucks cups are accepted for recycling in some major cities — including Seattle, New York City, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. — but the percentage of cups that successfully make it through the entire recycling process remains unclear.

In October 2017, a shareholder resolution was filed by As You Sow, a nonprofit foundation that promotes corporate social responsibility, asking Starbucks to recommit to its 2008 goals to make a recyclable paper cup and increase the use of reusable mugs.