Monday, January 17, 2011

Starbucks Needs To Stop Distributing Two Cups Per Visit

I love coffee shops. For those that know me personally, this is far from a huge secret. I will spend hours in a coffee shop reading and catching up on work that I would otherwise never do in my own apartment.

I think it is the relaxed atmosphere that attracts me to coffee shops...and the coffee, I like coffee.

However, the thing that I still can't wrap my head around is constant waste of paper cups. I wrote on this topic back in November as many of you will remember, and today I have developed yet another complaint about the paper cup system.

Starbucks seems to love serving their coffee in not one, but two paper cups stacked on one another. By stacking two cups on top of one another, they have created a small space of air between the two cups allowing the coffee to stay warmer longer. This is essentially the same result you get from putting plastic wrap over your windows during the winter to keep the heat from being lost as quickly.

If your only concern is that your coffee needs to be warm, then this is a fine solution. I have even mocked up a plan below that will allow Starbucks to have the WARMEST COFFEE EVER.

I'm a photoshop expert.
9 cups. Boom! I think this system actually allows the coffee to get hotter as it just sits there.

In all seriousness, if you're looking to have your coffee stay hot as long as possible, then I guess stacking cups is fine. However, because most people fail to recycle their cup(s) after finishing their coffee, the stacked-cup system is essentially doubling the waste that Starbucks is generating.

An alternative solution to keeping your drink hot for as long as possible is to get a personal mug. Many of them are made out of materials that can retain heat much longer than paper ever could and the repeated use you get out of them is "greener" than constantly using paper cups.


  1. If Starbucks is using recycled paper for their cups, then isn't that actually cleaner than using a personal mug that is more resource intensive to produce and keep clean?

  2. Thats a good point.

    I'm going to go ahead and stick to my argument though because it isn't a closed system of recycled paper for the cups.

    Starbucks may be using a percentage of recycled material for their cups, but it isn't 100%. Combining this with the fact that most people are just tossing their cups in the garbage after they are done, this just seems like a losing battle.

    Personal mugs can be resource intensive, but the majority of them are made out of cleaner materials today (

    Combining the cleaner development of these mugs with the repeated usage you get out of them, they seem to be a better alternative to constantly getting new paper cups.