||More on the Cups
Posted: 4/2/2010 10:07:48 AM
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According Lori Brown at earth9911.com, a group of Starbucks shareholders wanted to see increased recycling efforts by the company. Only 11 percent of the shareholders supported the move at Starbucks glitzy annual meeting last month.
Higher-ups in the company apparently didn't support this measure either. But they have been talking a lot about cups lately.
Again as Brown reports, Starbucks currently uses a modest 10 percent post-consumer recycled fiber content in its cups, though these cups are mostly not recyclable. Starbucks has committed to making its paper cups 100 percent recyclable by 2012. In a few spots around the country, the company is already using recyclable and compostable cups and is looking, it says, to expand this program.
Starbucks, moreover, is working alongside the U.S. Conference of Mayors to understand the recycling barriers with the cups in an effort to ensure consumers have access to recycling opportunities. (A start on this front would be to have easily visible recycling bins in stores for newspapers, java jackets, and napkins.)
In addition, Brown writes, "Starbucks is currently preparing for its second annual Cup Summit. In response to its commitment to make its entire stock of coffee cups recyclable by 2012, Starbucks held the first-ever summit in Seattle last year, bringing together cup manufacturers, paper recyclers and employees among others to discuss the viability of cup recycling."
Finally, Starbucks recently launched "the betacup" challenge, an online contest to engage creative thinkers in solving the disposable cup waste problem through open collaboration. Ideas can be submitted on how to reduce paper cup consumption, with $20,000 worth of cash prizes being awarded for the most innovative ideas.
Here are my five suggestion and they might not be innovative, but they are simple:
1 -- Have every employee -- barista/partner -- ask every customers, every time she/he comes in the store for coffee, "for here or to go?" This would signal that there is a choice.
2 -- Make reusable cups visible. That way customers will have a visual clue that they have a choice.
3 -- Have some posters in the store, not about seasonal frothy products, but about the impact of paper cups on the environment. Point out the fact that Brown does in her article for instance. She writes and this could write up on a poster: "According to the Environmental Defense Fund, 20 million trees are cut down in the process of manufacturing paper cups, which could be used to power 53,000 homes with the energy used through our paper cup consumption."
4 -- Push the tumblers and offer a real discount if people use tumblers for their to-go drink. Currently Starbucks only discounts to-go drinks in reusable cups by 10 cents. This is less the cost of a paper. The company needs to really incentivize the green choice. (And just to show that this would matter, if only two customers every of hour of the day used their own cups, each Starbucks store could to save over the course of a single year 1,631 gallons of water and reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 226 pounds and its solid waste output by 252 pounds. And that is just two cups an hour.)
5 -- Link up with savethecups.com. Let people compete and see how much they are saving each time they take the reusable option.
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