I am anti-Starbucks- because I think they are the biggest green hypocrites. I cannot tell you how many Starbucks coffee cups and lids are littered all over the streets. It’s not Starbuck’s fault that people litter- but they could do something about it such as big signs posted in their stores about recycling cups and lids- a sign that states’ please do not use lids if you don’t need them’- They could put recycling bins in the stores and the strip centers they operate out of. They could encourage people to bring their own mugs- not a measly $.05 cents off a cup of coffee for bringing your own mug. Their cups could be recyclable, they could have their staff picking up litter and participating in litter clean ups, since so much of the litter is theirs.
I read about how they opened up a store using reclaimed materials (another yawner), using solar energy (another me-too) not once, do you read about them picking up litter- which is more hazardous and toxic than opening 1 store using reclaimed materials.
I Just Gotta Tell Ya
- 2.3 Billion paper cups are used by Starbucks
- Currently, 58 billion paper cups are used in restaurants, events and homes in the U.S. each year. According to a Global Green press release, “If all paper cups in the U.S. were recycled, 645,000 tons of waste would be diverted from landfills each year, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2.5 million mtCO2e, equivalent to removing 450,000 passenger cars from the road.”
- Landfills are the final resting place for three billion Starbucks coffee cups annually. The polyethylene coating that lines and seals the inner cup makes the perfectly repulpable paper non-recyclable.
Here is Starbucks Social Responsibility Statement
CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
‘At Starbucks, we strive to be a great enduring company by championing business practices that help produce social, environmental and economic benefits for the communities in which we operate. Starbucks focuses its efforts on providing a great work environment for our partners (employees); making a positive contribution to our communities; working with coffee farmers to help ensure their long-term success and minimizing our environmental impact. ‘
So now that it is the ‘in thing’, 7 stores in Manhattan will start recycling. Big Wow! I mean really, litter has been an issue for over 500 years, and hardly anyone can walk down a street without seeing Starbucks litter. Coffee lids have been a problem for years- a problem that Canada is considering charging $.20 for coffee cup lids. Can you really tell me the people at Starbucks don’t see their coffee containers in the streets?
The last Starbucks I was in- about 1 month ago- carried only 1 organic coffee and no Fair Trade coffee. I asked the staff and THEY DIDN’T KNOW WHAT FAIR TRADE WAS. Unbelievable, especially when Starbucks talks about how they train their people and how ‘environmentally sensitive they are.
Are the Cups even recyclable? A post from Organic Consumers -‘The sleeves on the cups even plead, “Help us help the planet.” But don’t be confused. Starbucks promotes recycling on its cups, but the cups themselves aren’t recyclable here or in most other cities nationwide. “Well, they tricked me,” said Nicole Mejias, 22, a self-described Starbucks freak. “I immediately associate recycling with Starbucks because of their cups. That’s so hypocritical. I would have never guessed” that the cups weren’t easily recyclable.
The reason: The plastic coating that keeps the cup from leaking also prevents it from being recycled with other paper products. That could be overcome, but it would cost more. Anything can be recycled, but “The system is not designed to take the individual Starbucks cups,” said Steve Sargent, director of recycling for Rumpke Recycling, Columbus’ largest recycler.
Waste Management, North America’s largest recycler, won’t take the cups, either. But many employees have been telling customers otherwise. They say their Seattle-based employer never made the situation clear.
“I totally thought the cups were recyclable. I think almost everyone did,” said Melanie O’Brien, an Otterbein College student studying environmental initiatives who has worked at Starbucks. Recently, workers at a Clintonville Starbucks started taking cups to recycling sites themselves, because they felt guilty that they were being thrown away.
But an employee from the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio informed them that their efforts were pointless because recyclers would accept neither their plastic nor paper cups. An official with the Ohio Division of Natural Resources commended Starbucks for using recycled materials, but said the company is missing a bigger point…… Starbucks cups aren’t compostable, and the company doesn’t offer free reusable cups. But it sells travel mugs and offers a 10-cent discount to customers who bring their own cups.
Customers in the United States and Canada took that offer more than 17 million times in 2006, saving 674,000 pounds of paper, said Starbucks spokeswoman Valerie Carlborg. Starbucks said that a more-recyclable cup wasn’t an option, but the cup manufacturer disagreed. “It’s all about the money; the question is whether they would be willing to pay for it,” said Kelvin Okamoto, manager of materials and engineer at SOLO Cup Co., which is based in Illinois. Making that change could double the cost of cups, he said, “which means consumers would likely have to pay more, too.”
If Starbucks really wanted to be sustainable- Here is what they should do:
- Charge $1.00 for the cup and $.25 for the lid. $.25 for the brown wrap and $1.00 for the coffee.
- Post Big Sign- Please Recycle lids and cups-
- Put litter facts on their cups and signage.
- Place Recycle Bins through out strip Centers or around area where their store is.
- Have staff be responsible for litter pick up in 2 block radius of store
- Have community litter pick up events.
- Quit worrying about their solar energy- it benefits all in the long run-but will bring down their overhead and they will not pass the costs on to the consumer.
- Convert to fully recyclable cups and lids
Again, I repeat Starbucks is not responsible for people littering. They could make it easier to recycle their products, they could pass on litter facts, they could live up to their corporate sustainability statement, they could encourage and reward people for recycling and picking up trash- they could be a leader again instead of a follower. When that happens- I will again start to support Starbucks.