Paper Cups

Do Not Put In Recycling
Happy Birthday Paper Cup Image

Not Just Paper

Paper cups can’t be recycled because they’re not just made of paper. They’re also lined with plastic or wax to prevent liquid from leaking through the cup.


Recycle Sleeves as Cardboard

Cardboard sleeves are recyclable and should be disposed of with other cardboard products.

Coffee Cup

Lids Are Plastic

Coffee cup lids are made from plastic. Find out what to do with plastic lids.


Straws Are Plastic

Straws are generally made from plastic. Find out what to do with straws.

no compost

Keep Out of Compost

Paper-only products are compostable, but paper cups will leave plastic in the soil, which is toxic to insects and animals.

Ways to Reduce

Drink Coffee at the Shop

Whenever possible, ask for a reusable mug or glass and enjoy your beverage at the coffee shop without creating waste.


Save $0.10 Bringing Your Own at Starbucks

If you bring your own travel mug or coffee cup to Starbucks you’ll get 10 cents off your cup of coffee. Rewards members also receive additional rewards for bringing a reusable cup.

Ways to Reuse

Reusable Packaging For Businesses

Check out Upstream’s catalog of reusable packaging and unpackaging innovators that provide ways for consumers to obtain products, mostly food and beverages, in returnable, reusable, or refillable packaging – or they deliver products to consumers unpackaged altogether.

Did You Know?

Why Don’t Most Starbucks Recycle Cups?

As of 2013, Starbucks offered recycling in 39% of its stores. You’d think it would be universal, but there’s no great recycling technology for coffee cups yet, so many commercial recyclers don’t accept them, leaving Starbucks with nowhere to send the cups. Read more about Starbucks’ efforts to recycle and reduce waste.

Could Paper Cups Be Transformed into Biofuels?

University of Manitoba researchers have been studying whether cups could conceivably be made into biofuels. So far, the results are pretty promising.