It looks like McDonald’s and Starbucks may have started a battle to see who can appear to have the most sustainable coffee cup.
Starbucks has recently announced the launch of a compostable hot coffee cup sleeve that uses 34% less raw fiber and is easier to transport. The “EarthSleeve” is made of 85% post-consumer materials, an increase of 25% when compared to other sleeves.
The company release also noted that the EarthSleeve is manufactured right here in the U.S., cutting down on the environmental impacts of transportation. The sleeve is said to be fully compostable by Cedar Grove and ASTM requirements, and has been approved for repulpability by Western Michigan University. Starbucks claims that if these sleeves are put into regular circulation, 100,000 trees could be saved (but they have yet to clarify whether that’s per day, month, or year).
On a similar but different note, French designer Patrick Norguet has designed a reusable coffee cup that McDonald’s restaurants in France will soon be giving out to customers free of charge. After working with the company to improve modernization in Switzerland, Italy, and The Netherlands, Norguet has developed this cup that will not only reduce waste, but prevent coffee drinkers from burning their hands.
Since the release of McCafe products around the world, McDonald’s has experienced a major boost in sales and brand appeal, even considered to be tough competition for coffee chains such as Starbucks. Unfortunately, more sales equals more waste, but that’s where Norguet’s design may help out. The reusable cups are about the size of a short U.S. coffee size, available in pink, yellow, blue, grey, and brown (thankfully no gaudy red and yellow Ronald McDonald styles).
It would be great to see this McDonald’s trend move to the U.S. where millions of cups of coffee are sold every day, but do you think customers in the U.S. would actually be interested or use it? I do, and as someone who doesn’t drink McDonald’s coffee very often, this would definitely help to convince me to go there. It helps that I am a sucker for free things.
Starbucks will usually fill up a reusable travel cup if you take it in, so hopefully it won’t be long before McDonald’s offers the same at every location. And with a massive 3 billion hot drink cup sleeves discarded in the U.S. last year, it’s pretty vital that companies start using more sustainable materials.