Two Calgary elementary school students met with Starbucks stakeholders to present a petition that garnered more than 300,000 signatures.
Mya Chau and Eve Helman launched their #BetterCup campaign after researching disposable coffee cups for a school science project. Their petition calls on Starbucks to develop a 100 per cent recyclable cup.
“There’s a plastic and wax lining inside that’s really stuck to the paper… So we want them to make a cup that’s recyclable everywhere in the world,” Chau said.
In Calgary, disposable cups lined with polyethylene are accepted as part of the recycling program. In cities like Toronto, however, coffee cups are not accepted in blue bins. Because of this, many cups are thrown in the trash and end up in the landfill.
As the students’ petition gained more signatures, the girls received an invite from Starbucks to attend a shareholders meeting and to personally meet CEO Kevin Johnson in Seattle, WA.
The coffee company told Global News they applauded the students’ “initiative and creativity” and that they shared a common goal.
“Their visit coincided with a major sustainability announcement the company made that goes even beyond the asks in the petition,” a Starbucks spokesperson said.
That announcement is the launch of the “NextGen Cup Challenge”; a Starbucks initiative tasked with developing a “fully recyclable and compostable cup” within three years.
Chau and Helman said they were excited to hear the announcement, but added that there are still steps the company can take to reduce waste.
“At the meeting, we saw all these disposable cups everywhere that everyone was drinking. There was a lot of people so there were a lot of cups,” Helman said. She suggested coffee drinkers should always use a reusable cup.
The #BetterCup campaign is still online and the two girls are encouraging supporters to offer their own advice on how Starbucks can continue becoming a more environmentally sustainable company.
“We hope they’re going to do what they say.”