Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Starbucks’ approach to recycle supply chain

Did you know how many cups are consumed in Starbucks stores around the world? 

About four billion cups are provided to their customers globally per year and they almost end up in the trash[1]. Starbucks has been criticized about this fact by environmental groups. Starbucks has had a strategy “Shared Planet”, which aims at doing their business in the ways that are good for people and the planet[2]. In addition, Starbucks responded to this criticism and decided to make 100 percent of their cups reusable or recyclable by 2015[1].

What has Starbucks been challenging?

Since 2008, Starbucks has worked on a system-based approach to cup recycling with Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Society for Organizational Learning. In 2009, they began two pilot projects. The first one was to recycle used cups into new cups, cooperating with cup supplier, International Paper and recycle pulp producer Mississippi River Pulp. The second one was to gather used cups from Starbucks’ stores in Chicago and make paper napkins for Starbucks and other customers at Geogia-Pacific paper mill in Green Bay, Wisconsin[1]. These became successful recycle-solutions for used cups. Now Starbucks are expanding these solutions not only to North America but also to all over the world[3].

Cup-to-Cup program
Source: International Paper[4]

Can Starbucks replicate these practices on global scale?

It is ideal for Starbucks to construct recycle supply chain network in a local area because of shorter lead-time and lower logistic cost. In the second pilot project, they selected one of the recycle-factories which are in a close city. The farther location the factory is in, the longer load-time and higher cost it takes to transport. When Starbucks replicates these practices globally, they have to consider this point. In some areas, they may have no easy access to recycle-factories. 


As a supply chain consultant, what kinds of advice can you offer Starbucks regarding their global expansion?


1. Cup Recycling | Starbucks Coffee Company. (n.d.). Starbucks Coffee Company. Retrieved February 12, 2013, from http://www.starbucks.com/responsibility/global-report/environmental-stewardship/cup-recycling

2. Shared Planet | Starbucks Coffee Company. (n.d.). Starbucks Coffee Company. Retrieved February 12, 2013, from http://www.starbucks.com/responsibility/learn-more/starbucks-shared-planet

3. OPPERMAN, J. (n.d.). Where Does That Starbucks Cup Go? - NYTimes.com.Energy and Environment - Green Blog - NYTimes.com. Retrieved February 12, 2013, from  http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/11/30/what-next-after-tossing-a-starbucks-cup/

4. International Paper - Cup to Cup Program. (n.d.). International Paper - Global Home. Retrieved February 12, 2013, from http://www.internationalpaper.com/US/EN/Business/Foodservice/CupToCup.html


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  2. Do you subscribe to any other websites about this? I'm struggling to find other reputable sources like yourself

    Supply Chain Consultants


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