Starbucks & McDonald's to Partner in Quest for Compostable Cup

The move comes just a week after Starbucks’ decided to rid itself of plastic straws.

By Ethan L. Johns
July 17, 2018

Images: iStock

With an estimated total of 600 billion single-use cups sold each year worldwide, this planet has a waste problem. On Tuesday, McDonald’s announced that it would be joining Starbucks in an effort to alleviate its waste by combining resources to create a compostable or recyclable single-use cup.

The announcement is the start of McDonald’s participation as a member of the NextGen Consortium—a group that Starbucks became a part of back in March when it committed $10 million for the NextGen Competition. McDonald’s has donated $5 million. The consortium also includes host organization Closed Loop Partners, which runs the Center for the Circular Economy.

The NextGen Competition will take place in September, when entrepreneurs and developers will come together to present their ideas for compostable and recyclable cups which can be produced at a scale large enough to feed the beasts that are Starbucks and McDonald’s. The best ideas will be funded with up to $1 million to continue development.

McDonald’s’ announcement is part of an industry-wide exploration of waste-related changes, which have been brought on by the demands of both environmental groups and consumers. It comes just a week after Starbucks vowed to remove plastic straws from its locations by 2020.

“McDonald’s is committed to using our scale for good to make positive changes that impact our planet and the communities we serve,” said the company in a statement. “We are excited to join Starbucks and Closed Loop to help solve this pressing challenge as collaboration is key to finding a scalable, lasting global solution.”

While Starbucks sells about 6 billion single-use cups every year, McDonald’s sales numbers have not been shared. There is no doubt, though, that Tuesday’s commitment is a step in the right direction toward reducing waste from single-use fast food cups.


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About Ethan L. Johns

Ethan is the Food News Writer at Genius Kitchen. An expert on the Parisian bistrot, he likes bitters and salted butters, and is no fan of dessert unless it's made with fruit. His hobbies include reading up on the history of borscht and attempting to roll perfect couscous by hand. Twits & Instagram @EthanLJohns