Southern California environment news and trends

Starbucks introducing earth-friendlier hot cup sleeves

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Stephen Chernin/Getty Images

In another example of little things meaning a lot, the Starbucks is launching the EarthSleeve, a new hot cup sleeve the coffee company claims will potentially save close to 10,000 trees.

According to a company press release, the EarthSleeve was developed for Starbucks by LBP Manufacturing in conjunction with Henkel, and uses 34 percent less raw fiber material with a full 25 percent increase in recycled materials. Given the company’s overwhelming share of the American coffee market, this cup sleeve upgrade is poised to make a considerable environmental and industry difference.

“At Starbucks we are constantly looking to innovate in ways that make our world a better place,” said Cliff Burrows, president of the Americas for Starbucks in a statement. “This product represents how the integration of our environmental values and collaboration with like-minded organizations can create significant impact.”

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Starbucks opens drive-through made of recycled shipping containers near Seattle

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Stephen Chernin/Getty Images

Shipping containers have long been a hot topic in eco-circles. With more of them collecting dust across America than many realize, finding myriad ways to recycle the hulking shells abound. Given their size, re-imagining these containers as homes and shelters have been especially popular. The SEED Project at Clemson University was inspired to utilize them as emergency housing in case of devastating incidents such as Hurricane Katrina.

Shipping containers have also become popular as quick and easy pop-up businesses (officially known as “cargotecture”), and Starbucks has jumped on the trend by opening a drive-through store from recycled shipping units in Tukwila, WA, not far from Seattle. Constructed from four cargo containers stacked two high, the location does not have any indoor seating.

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