By Jordan Bren on Apr 1, 2011

Recycling Starbucks Iced Coffee Cups


Spring is here, and it’s almost time to retire your reusable thermal mug to the top shelf. But now you’re faced with a new single-use dilemma: the plastic iced coffee cup.

Made from plastic #5, Starbucks iced coffee cups are technically recyclable. Photo: Flickr/mastermaq

Luckily, these cups aren’t as hard to recycle as the hot drink cups, which are made from coated paper that requires a special machine for recycling.

Read: Can Starbucks Find a Way to Recycle 4 Billion Cups?

Starbucks iced coffee cups are made from plastic #5 (polypropylene), and many curbside programs won’t accept this type of plastic. However, there are other take-back options through independent companies.

[search type=”recycling” what=”plastic #5″ whatlabel=”plastic #5″]

Preserve’s Gimme 5 program is one of the easiest ways to recycle plastic #5 products, like these iced coffee cups. Just look for the Preserve Gimme 5 bins – available at many Whole Foods Markets – and drop them in to guarantee proper recycling.

If you’re not close to a Whole Foods Market or other collection bin location, cups (and other plastic #5 items) can also be mailed directly to Preserve.

Starbucks also offers a 10-cent discount on your drink of choice when you use a reusable mug or cup. This may not seem like much, but the savings can account for almost 10 free drinks in a year for those coffee lovers who enjoy a daily fix.

By 2015, Starbucks plans to have recycling available in all locations. Additionally, 100 percent of its famous white cups will be reusable or recyclable.

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What to Do With Single-Brew Coffee Cups
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      • Julia

        Um, why can’t you keep using a reusable insulated cup for your cold beverages?