McDonald’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, Costa, Tim Hortons challenged to join Starbucks in addressing climate, forest impacts of unrecyclable coffee cups

March 29, 2018 #BetterCup campaign asks coffee retailers to ‘meet or beat’ Starbucks’ commitment to shift to recyclable, compostable cup in 3 years.

SEATTLE, WA — A week after Starbucks committed to bring a fully recyclable and compostable paper cup to market in three years, announces the next phase of its ongoing #BetterCup campaign.

In letters to the CEOs of several companies — including McDonald’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, Tim Hortons, Costa Coffee, Caribou Coffee and Peet’s Coffee — the environmental organization is calling on the coffee retailers to commit within 90 days to “meet or beat” Starbucks’ efforts to reduce the “to-go” coffee industry’s impact on our forests and climate.

“After two years of powerful dissonance between the kind of responsibility customers expect of companies and their actual practices, Starbucks made a bold commitment to change. Coffee giants like McDonald’s, Tim Hortons, and Costa must do the same and address the environmental impacts of their unrecyclable, plastic-lined paper cups.” -Todd Paglia, Executive Director,

“ has worked for decades in a collaborative spirit with companies to improve their environmental performance. We hope Starbucks’ competitors will proactively commit to decreasing their environmental impacts.”  -Todd Paglia, Executive Director,

Background launched the #BetterCup campaign in April 2016 after years of stonewalling by Starbucks and a refusal to change its practices. The campaign became a staple in Seattle, using creative imagery like the Cup Wall and Cup Monster to help people understand the problem with unrecyclable, plastic-lined coffee cups.

The Cup Wall symbolizes the number of Starbucks cups thrown away every minute of every day — 8,000+ a minute, or 4+ billion each year. Read the “Secret of the Starbucks Cup” report.

In March 2018, and dozens of global environmental organizations launched the “Starbucks: Break Free From Plastic” coalition, focused on Starbucks’ annual shareholder meeting. Nearly one million people joined the campaign.


Media contact: Todd Paglia,, 415-509-1500