Friday, May 26, 2017

A response from Starbucks

A while ago I wrote to Starbucks about their use of throw-away materials and the lack of composting and even recycling at many sites. I got a letter back, almost immediately, actually.

Chris Johnson (via US Fish & Wildlife HQ) CC 2.0
Dear Kaara, 
Thank you for contacting Starbucks Coffee Company. I just finished reading your email and appreciate you taking the time to share your concerns with us.
Starbucks is committed to significantly reducing the waste our stores generate - especially when it comes to recycling. 
We know this is important to our customers, to us and our planet. In fact, we get more customer comments about recycling than any other environmental issue - especially when it comes to our cups.
To learn more about our work in recycling read our Starbucks Global Responsibility Report at
Starbucks white paper cups, used for hot beverages, are made of paper fiber and the industry standard liner (low-density polyethylene plastic). The paper provides the rigidity for the cup, while the plastic layer keeps the paper layer intact by protecting it from the hot beverage. This plastic layer also makes the hot beverage cups unrecyclable in most paper recycling systems. We are continually evaluating alternatives to the current plastic coating, and are currently conducting life cycle assessments for bio-based plastics.
Other actions taken by Starbucks to reduce the environmental impacts of our disposable cups include:
  • Working to eliminate most double-cupping by utilizing corrugated hot beverage sleeves made of 60 percent post-consumer recycled fiber.
  • Offering the $1.00 reusable, recyclable Starbucks cup with lid
  • Giving customers a $0.10 discount when they use their own reusable cups.
  • Providing "for here" mugs for customers who choose to enjoy their beverages in-store.
  • Please know that we appreciate your comments and that we take our responsibility to the environment very seriously. Your concerns will be forwarded to our utility specialist, who manages in-store recycling for North America

For more information, please visit us online at
If you ever have any questions or concerns in the future, please visit us at
Have a great day, Kaara.

Tammy H.customer service

They've clearly gotten this question before, and this is clearly a form letter. Recycling is not the only issue I mentioned, and is an unsatisfactory solution. Reduce, Reuse, then Recycle.

Not that it's Starbucks' problem only, of course. It's our problem, that so very many of us purchase throwaway/recyclable-in-theory items day after day after every damned day. But since Starbucks is socially responsible in many ways and is a powerful and influential leader in its field, it could really make a dent in changing people's behavior. I am disappointed with their answer.

By Dhscommtech at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0