Starbucks’ new Holiday Cup urges customers to ‘Give Good’ this holiday season, but cups will go straight into the trash

November 1, 2017

“Better Cup” campaign calling on Starbucks to live up to its failed 2008 promise to make a 100% recyclable paper cup.

Today, Starbucks released its annual Holiday Cup, with a message encouraging its customers to “Give Good” to others this holiday season. 

In response, calls on dedicated customers, social media mavens, and industry reporters alike to look past the coffee giant’s holiday marketing hype and toward the company’s disappointing lack of leadership on true environmental issues like sustainability. is running a “Better Cup” campaign calling on Starbucks to live up to its failed 2008 promise to make a 100% recyclable paper cup.

“Starbucks is the biggest coffee company in the world, yet their paper cups are not recyclable in most cities,” said Ross Hammond of “How can Starbucks follow through on its own marketing hype to ‘Give Good’ this holiday season, when it’s sending more than 4 billion cups to the dump? Starbucks’ real holiday motto should be ‘Do Bad’ to forests, and Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson deserves nothing but lumps of coal in his stocking.”


Most 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 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.

Starbucks serves 4+ billion paper cups a year, which means that every minute, more than 8,000 paper cups go straight into the trash.

As part of the “Better Cup” campaign, regularly parades its beloved Cup Monster throughout Seattle to bring attention to Starbucks’ failed promise to create a 100% recyclable cup by 2015. 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), the Geekwire Summit in October (where CEO Kevin Johnson took the stage), and at Starbucks Headquarters on Halloween.

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.

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Media contact: Virginia Cleaveland,,, 510-858-9902