Starbucks Japan Announces Circularity Innovations as Part of Planet-Positive Agenda


Starbucks Coffee Japan will reduce its waste footprint through innovative re-use and recycling initiatives that positively impact its communities

Innovative coffee grounds recycle program will deliver new menu choices to consumers, while supporting local farmers

Starbucks Coffee Japan also plans to increase career opportunities, as it aims to reach 2,000 stores in market by the end of 2024

As part of Starbucks global commitment to reducing its waste footprint by 50% by 2030, Starbucks Coffee Japan today announced a series of re-usability and recycling initiatives to advance this goal. It will launch a new menu range featuring locally-sourced ingredients produced using recycled coffee grounds, as well as introduce tumbler recycling for customers and a cup share program.

“We set ambitious goals to become a resource-positive company, and we continue to explore innovative ways to bring our partners and communities together around the shared desire to protect the planet,” said John Culver, group president, International, Channel Development and Global Coffee, Tea & Cocoa. “Launching a new closed-loop menu is another way to give our customers in Japan more options to enjoy lower-impact and locally-sourced ingredients as part of their Starbucks Experience.

“Since first opening our doors to customers 25 years ago, we have grown our business in Japan responsibly, now operating more than 1,600 stores with 40,000 partners proudly wearing the green apron every day. As we work to create a more planet and people-positive future, we’re proud to have created a range of initiatives that will help create a culture of reuse, while providing new opportunities to give back to our farmers and the neighborhoods we serve,” said Takafumi Minaguchi, ceo of Starbucks Coffee Japan. “We will continue to deliver an unparalleled Starbucks Experience, while taking on challenges that benefit our people and communities across Japan.”

Starbucks Coffee Japan will introduce three circularity strategies to reduce its waste footprint, while creating positive impact for local communities:

Producing new menu items through its Coffee Grounds Recycling Loop program

Customers can choose from three new food items that feature locally-sourced carrots and matcha green tea powder produced by its Coffee Grounds Recycling Loop program.

Through the program, Starbucks has partnered with farmers across Japan since 2014 to recycle used coffee grounds from its stores in Kanto and Kansai for agricultural compost and animal feed used to produce vegetables, green tea, and milk, which is incorporated into signature beverages, such as lattes.

Starbucks is now working with farmers to bring these ingredients back into its stores for customers to enjoy. Available nationwide, new menu items include:

  • Matcha Cream Bar: this blondie cake bar features matcha green tea powder, paired perfectly with luxurious white chocolate, for a delicious accompaniment to your favorite Starbucks beverage.
  • Root Vegetable Chicken Salad Wrap: the popular Root Vegetable Chicken Salad wrap is given a refreshing green twist, with matcha powder kneaded into the tortilla dough to create a wholesome wrap featuring carrots, lettuce and chicken.
  • Whole Carrot Cake: this limited-edition 5-inch whole carrot cake will be available exclusively to customers online from June 23. A fragrant combination of carrot, fruit and spices, topped with creamy frosting and a generous sprinkle of nuts, it’s perfect as a gift or to enjoy with family and friends.

Evolving the program is part of Starbucks ongoing approach to engaging its customers and communities in its resource-positive journey, by working with its farmers to create sustainable farming processes and offering customers new ways to enjoy locally-sourced and lower impact ingredients as part of their Starbucks Experience.

Coffee grounds are the top source of in-store food waste for Starbucks in Japan. By providing coffee grounds to the 28 farmers participating in the program, as well as using them to develop store furnishings such as art installations and trays, Starbucks will reduce coffee grounds waste by 50%.

Across the wider Asia Pacific region, Starbucks has also run a Coffee Grounds recycling program with farmers across South Korea since 2015, which produces a range of packaged food items that it sells in its stores. The company also runs the Grounds for Your Garden program across various markets around the world including the U.S., Indonesia, and many more, providing customers with used coffee grounds from stores to use as garden fertilizer.

In-store recycling and waste reduction

In a pilot project running this summer, Starbucks will launch a tumbler collection and recycling program, collecting used tumblers from customers across 500 stores nationwide. The recycled tumblers will be used to create new merchandise items, available in stores from 2022.

Starbucks will also launch a new food waste reduction program across all its stores nationwide. At the end of each day, customers will be able to purchase unsold fresh products about to expire at a discount.

Shifting from single-use to reusable cups

Starbucks will launch a Reusable Cup-Share program across select stores in the Marunouchi district of Tokyo. Customers will be served their beverage in a reusable cup and can return their cups at participating stores. Reusable cups will be collected, washed and sanitized by a third-party company.

The program will help create a culture of re-use on the go, by providing a convenient way for customers to reduce disposable cup usage within their immediate vicinity. It will provide valuable insights into how to scale the program across the market, as the company works towards its global goal of reducing waste by 50% by 2030.

The company continues to explore sustainable store design as part of its global efforts to reduce its environmental impact. It will open its Kokyo (Imperial Palace) Gaien Wadakura Fountain Park Store in Tokyo later this year. Designed using lower-impact materials, it will serve as a testbed for Starbucks Coffee Japan’s sustainability initiatives. Starbucks Coffee Japan will also transition all 350free-standing company-operated stores to 100% renewable energy.

In addition to its planet-positive initiatives, Starbucks Coffee Japan has also committed to creating opportunities for its partners (employees), with a focus on contributing to economic development in local communities through tailored career paths. This comes as the company continues to expand its stores footprint in Japan through purpose-driven growth, opening 100 new stores per year with the goal of reaching 2,000 stores by the end of 2024.

Starbucks first entered Japan in 1996, making it the first international market outside of North America. With more than 1,600 stores, Japan is Starbucks third largest market globally and celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.

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