Tata Starbucks has announced that it will completely transition to compostable and recyclable packaging solutions across its stores in India by World Environment Day (5 June 2019). The company has been working since 2012 to eliminate the use of single-use plastic in its stores.

Globally, Starbucks has been focusing on sustainability initiatives such as achieving 99 per cent sustainable coffee and committing to eliminate single-use straws by 2020. In India, the company started using paper bags, paper sleeves, and paper napkins made from recycled fibre right from its first store opening in 2012. Paper cups used at the Starbucks stores are in adherence with FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) guidelines. It has introduced various green initiatives such as glass serveware for food and beverages consumed within the stores, compostable wooden cutlery and stirrers, compostable paper cups and straws, compostable CPLA and PLA lids made from corn starch, and compostable splash sticks for takeaway orders. It has also partnered with a Central Pollution Control Board-approved recycler under the mandatory extended producer responsibility (EPR) Plan to help recycle waste.

Starbucks’ sustainable practices extend to energy and water efficiency and the use of responsible materials that reduce environmental impact. It encourages its partners and customers to participate in sustainability efforts such as ‘Grounds for your Garden’ (allows customers to pick up a free bag of used coffee grounds from select Starbucks stores for their home garden) while enabling efficient waste management. Starbucks also encourages customers to ‘Bring Your Own Tumbler’, which gives customers an incentive (INR 10 off) for going green. There is the ‘No Paper Bill’ initiative where customers can opt out of receiving paper receipts to reduce waste.

Despite follow-ups, the company did not respond to CB’s questions regarding the recycling rate and plans to reduce total waste generated by the company.

In a press release shared with CB, Navin Gurnaney, CEO, Tata Starbucks, said, ‘Sustainable coffee, served sustainably, is a significant milestone for Tata Starbucks. We are proud to be the first in the industry to be adopting all recyclable and compostable packaging solutions across our stores in India.’