Starbucks, the ubiquitous coffee chain, recently completed a six-week pilot program to determine the extent to which its used coffee cups can be recycled into new cups. From USA Today:
Starbucks Coffee Company collected 6,000 pounds of used paper cups in the Toronto area and sent them to Mississippi River Pulp, the only pulp mill in the United States that has successfully recycled used cups into fiber suitable for making new cups. The result was a cup-to-cup success. ... By 2015, Starbucks aims to have all its paper cups -- one billion a year --be reusable or recyclable.
Of course, just because it’s technically feasible doesn’t necessarily mean it’s cost effective. That study is next. Still, it’s encouraging that they are moving in that direction. Starbucks is also launching another pilot program in New York City to see if they can recycle used coffee cups into lavatory paper and paper towels, and another in Chicago to recycle coffee cups into napkins. Of course, if you’re a habitué of any given Starbucks (or any coffee shop), you can always just bring your own reusable cup and avoid the whole thing entirely.