A Sip of Reality

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As I enjoy my delicious Venti Vanilla Bean Crème Frappuccino from Starbucks on this warm sunny day, I am reminded of the time in high school when I started a recycling club. Back then, I was determined to save Earth from landfills, and thought that by starting the recycling club and educating my classmates, I would reach my goal.

Fast-forward to a little more than a decade later, I am reminded of my little recycling club because I think of all the waste bins in Starbucks filled with various discards all mixed together, from paper napkins, straws, and coffee cups. When these collections reach the recycling facilities, most likely they will get thrown away because not many recycling centers can sort the items. In fact, those paper cubs labeled with the recycling symbol contain a film of plastic that is nearly inseparable from the paper, making them un-recyclable at most recycling centers.

You see, Starbucks beverages account for approximately 4 billion + cups globally each year, and they have more than 25,000 retail locations globally!

With the growing consumption and demand for coffee on the rise as Indian, Chinese, and Latin communities become more westernized, we are on track for our beautiful, grand, sparkling Earth becoming mucked up with overflowing landfills. But we can make a difference!

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What you can do, immediately:

  • Make sure you rinse and recycle your plastic wares
  • Teach the youth in your life, and your dear Earth-loving friends, about the importance of recycling
  • Use re-usable drink containers whenever possible (to drink water, at coffee shops to get your specialty coffees, at work)

I’m not sure what Starbuck’s current goal is for 2017 and on, but here are their goals for 2015. If you notice, they originally had hoped to serve 25% of their beverages made in their stores in reusable cups, and they modified this goal to serve just 5%.

  1. Goal: Serve 5 percent of beverages made in our stores in personal tumblers by 2015
  2. Previous Goal: Serve 25 percent of beverages made in our stores in reusable cups by 2015

What else we can do, as a community:

  • If you feel deeply passionate about this matter, feel free to message us, or drop a comment below, to chat about starting a movement to inspire Starbucks and other coffee shops to take greater accountability for their waste management.
  • You can also Take The Pledge! Carry Your Cup has a place where you can pledge to use only non-disposable fluid containers for whatever time-frame you’d like (1 day, 1 week, forever…).  M3R took a pledge, and we encourage you to as well!

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Please note, although we focus on Starbucks on this article, there are many other companies whose waste-management practices can be improved. But, we have to start somewhere. Thanks for reading! Remember, you can make a difference.

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