The group says Starbucks’ customers assume their paper cups are recyclable, but that's not true in most cases.
"(Starbucks) uses 8,000 cups a minute, every minute of every day of every year. Eight-thousand cups are going in the landfill because in most places around the world, Starbucks cups are not recyclable,“ said Jim Ace, Corporate Campaigner at Stand.earth.
Stand.earth says the cups cannot be processed in most recycling facilities because of their plastic lining, which clogs the recycling equipment.
But Starbucks is disputing the group’s assertion, calling the protest “misguided.”
The group “intentionally ignores the fact that Starbucks hot cup is recyclable, as well as the realities and complexity of recycling in our country,” a company official said in a statement on Starbucks’ website.
Activists plan to camp outside the headquarters until Friday.
Earlier this month, Starbucks released a video to introduce the cups. It featured a variety of customers, including an animation of two women shown holding hands around a Starbucks drink. Though their relationship wasn’t specified, some people saw it as a nod toward LGBTQ customers.
Last week, a BuzzFeed News story suggested the hands belong to a same-sex couple, saying Starbucks did not confirm or deny that the hands belong to a same-sex couple.
Several customers said the depiction was one of a same-sex couple, with some appearing to be supportive of the move and others criticizing it.
“This year’s hand-drawn cup features scenes of celebrating with loved ones — whoever they may be,” Starbucks spokeswoman Sanja Gould told The Times. “We intentionally designed the cup so our customers can interpret it in their own way, adding their own color and illustrations.”
This isn’t the first time the company’s holiday cups caused discussion. In 2015, many people were upset about the plain red cups that didn't have a holiday-themed pattern. A conservative Christian activist pushed a boycott of Starbucks.
At the time, the company said the cups were a blank canvas for customers to tell their own holiday story.
The first bakery-cafe, known as Princi, is located at the Starbucks Seattle Reserve Roastery at 1124 Pike St. It’s the first time in Starbucks' 45-year history that the company will be baking fresh goods onsite.
All locations, named Princi after Italian baker Rocco Princi, will serve freshly baked Italian food created from the baker's recipes.
The Seattle store is centered around ovens, with fresh food baked there throughout the day.
Customers can choose from than 100 menu items daily, including cornetti, an Italian variation of a croissant; focaccia sandwiches filled with salami and mozzarella; and crostata fregola, also known as strawberry pie, using ingredients imported from Italy, 25 of which are specifically for Princi.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed with all the offerings, a Commessa, or shop assistant, will help you decide what to order.
Princi will become the only food offering in all new Starbucks Reserve Roastery locations including Shanghai, opening in December 2017, Milan in late 2018, and New York, Tokyo and Chicago.
The coffee chain will switch things up this year, veering away from its typically red-themed holiday cups. The chain’s new cup design allows customers to color it in themselves. Locations will provide colored pencils for customers to borrow to doodle on their cups.
“We hope they’ll color it in to represent what the holidays means to them,” Leanne Fremar, a creative director at the company, told The Associated Press.
Starbucks has released holiday cups since 1997. Holiday drink flavors this year include Peppermint Mocha, Caramel Brulee Latte and Chestnut Praline Latte.