Starbucks (SBUX -1.40%) wants to limit its impact on the environment. The chain has pledged to develop "a more recyclable and compostable hot cup solution by 2022," according to a press release. 

It has been making progress on getting that done and has started testing a BioPBS coated paper cup in select stores in Vancouver, Seattle, San Francisco, New York, and London. The tests are designed to determine how the cups perform compared to its current cups, when used by consumers.

A Starbucks cup is being recycled

Starbucks wants to offer a recyclable cup. Image source: Starbucks.

A greener Starbucks

Disposable cups produce a lot of waste. That's something Starbucks wants to cut down on, partly because it's the right thing to do, and partly because being bad for the environment does not fit the company's image.

The chain began a multi-decade effort to become "resource positive" in January. To support those efforts, the company has been focusing on single-use packaging and how it manages its waste, and has been conducting a NextGen Cup Challenge to find a new recyclable cup.

"While this cup trial is an exciting step forward, Starbucks will continue to evaluate additional NextGen Cup Challenge winning concepts and cup technologies, as well as learn from other reusable and recyclable innovations to find the most sustainable solutions for its business, partners (employees) and customers," the company said in a statement.

One step at a time

Starbucks has taken a smart approach to reaching its goals. It has set a lofty target but has given itself lots of time to get there. That allows the company to show it cares while also not putting too much pressure on its operations in the short term.