Starbucks...So wasteful...

It's easy to see when you are in Starbucks that they are wasteful. You just have to look around, it's that simple. Individually wrapped plasticware. Paper cups (I've been in ONE Starbucks that had "for here," reusable cups...Correction: I am in a Starbucks now that has reusable mugs, but apparently you have to ask for one - they don't ask you if it's for here or to go...Sneaky!) with plastic lids. Napkins, napkins, napkins. Straws, straws, straws. Little individual packets of sugar, Splenda, what have you. Snacks that are individually wrapped. No "for here" plates - instead, you get a little paper bag. Paper sleeves.

How many people do you think are actually reusing these things?

It would be really not that hard to clean out your paper cup, clean out your plastic lid, and reuse those, as well as reusing your sleeve. But the people who do are probably a very small percentage, if there are people who do that at all. And it's easier to just throw it all in the trash, right? Way less energy burned, way less work involved. Throw away your cup, throw away the environment.

Anyway, I found this article from 2011 which talks about Starbucks' new (back then) logo, and how they are going to just throw away tons of cups, signs, road signs, window graphics, brochures, etc. etc. etc. I'd like to think that they just kept using the paper cups and napkins and sleeves with the old logo until they ran out and started using the ones with the new logo. But she has a point about everything else. We can't have the old logo on the rest area signs! Old logo on the window? Not acceptable. Good old corporate thinking.

Starbucks says on their website that they have started putting recycling bins in every store (I've been in Starbucks in the States that still don't have them...). Of course, "Recycling success depends on the availability of commercial recycling services where our stores are located. While our policy is that stores recycle where space and services are available, execution often presents challenges, both with customer perception of the services being provided and the actual service itself." Why? What is so freaking hard about recycling your cups, your lids, your napkins, etc.?

They go on to say: "Also, different commercial recyclers accept different materials, so we’re not able to provide a consistent program from store to store. And for stores located in shared spaces like malls, it is often the landlord who controls waste collection and recycling." Enough excuses, guys. Just make it happen. Just talk to the landlords. I can't believe this is that difficult. You're Starbucks! Offer higher rent or offer to pay for the recycling or something! You can take that small dent in the budget, guys!

Granted, they are doing some other things like providing coffee grounds for composting, trying to gain support for more recycling nationwide, and they give you a discount when you reuse your cup. That last point is not that impressive - ooh, 10 cent discount, big whoop. And they still aren't using reusable cups of their own in many locations. So, not that impressed, guys. You're relying on the customer to bring their own cup, but it would make a lot more sense if you had reusable cups and asked people if they were going to stay or leaving.

I just thought a bit more about the reusable cup idea. This is Starbucks. Image is so important. Ceramic mugs get broken a lot. Starbucks wouldn't want to use cheap ceramic mugs, because they want their logo on EVERYTHING. I'm looking at the cup a gentleman across the room is using, and there is an indented Starbucks logo on the side. Starbucks would loathe to use cheap mugs that get chipped and don't look pretty enough. Just ridiculous.

Yet, here I sit, in a Starbucks, drinking from a paper cup, with a plastic lid, and a paper sleeve. And I'm complaining about this. And I still go to places like this, which are so wasteful, and hypocritical, and say they're working hard when it really doesn't seem like they are. Looks like I need to reevaluate my coffee intake options. I feel like in our society, it's extremely hard to find places that are going to be friendlier to the environment, fair trade, etc., and where I live, it's double the price. That's not sustainable on my *budget.*

I feel like I'm stuck in a loop, and I can't break out. I feel like there is no escape from this. I suppose I could just choose and stick my ground and not go to places like this. Why is that so much easier said than done?

Some more interesting reports:
Starbucks wastes 23 million litres of water a day - big surprise
The basic problem with coffee cups - really interesting if you have a couple minutes
Only 11% of shareholders voted in favour of a comprehensive recycling plan in 2010

Blah blah blah, etc. etc. etc.


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