The Non-Recyclable Coffee Paper Cup Problem

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The coffee industry has been under a lot of pressure over the last couple of years. The players in the industry wanted to constantly better their practices and maintain sustainability. One of the main issues that the industry has encountered was the kind of the cup of coffee. In the year 2012, Starbucks, the largest organization in the industry, sold hundreds of thousands of coffee every day. All the coffee during that year was sold in non-recyclable paper cups. It was estimated that about four billion paper cups were used that year alone. In fact, the CEO of Starbuck’s suggested in 2009 that the company should anticipate developing cups that could be recycled by the year 2012. However, the goal was not reached by the organization (Ofek & Norris, 2013).
Consequently, the company set another objective, which was to create cups that are 100 percent recyclable by the year 2015. In addition, the company was and has been encouraging its customers to use recyclable cups. To achieve this, Starbucks has been giving discounts to customers who bring their own cups. Many people in America have been consuming coffee, thus the industry was not largely affected by the global economic recession that hit most parts of the world between the years 2007 and 2009. In fact, it was predicted that this industry has a potential of growing over the next 10 years (Ofek & Norris, 2013). This was due to the recorded trends of coffee consumption as well as opportunities presented by emerging markets. However, despite the growth, the only problem that remained for the industry managers and leaders is the issue of non-recyclable coffee cups.
The fact that the coffee cups could not be recycled meant that more people would be consuming coffee as the industry con...

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...mers. In the case at hand, it is recommended that the management of coffee companies should strive to make reusable travel mugs that will largely solve the environmental problem and satisfy consumer need. Companies should educate consumers on the benefits of using reusable travel mugs over non-recyclable cups. These benefits include cost-efficient and saving in the long run. Although consumers may pay a high price for acquiring a travel mug, however, this is a one-time cost and consumers should realize that the price they pay is actually a cost saving investment, given the high duration of these mugs and their reusability functions. This will reduce the billions of cups that are thrown away every month, thereby reducing environmental pollution. The mugs should be produced in different designs and with different materials to capture all types of customer preferences.