Is Starbucks who we thought they were?

A company that we have continued to attack throughout the semester is Starbucks. I believe this is because Starbucks is one of those companies that literally define greenwashing. As a company Starbucks poses to be environmental friendly, however everything they exercise in business doesn’t correlate to what they claim to be. Starbucks continuously is misleading their customers by serving the product that looks the best rather than what is best for the environment. In their latest act Starbucks released their Holiday festive coffee cop, however many individuals are upset with Starbucks because they are more concerned about the cup design rather than having reusable cups. In a short time between now and New Year’s Starbucks will be responsible for 580 million holiday cups going into the trash. (Globally, the chain distributes 8,000 per minute on average.)

“In 2008 Starbucks acknowledged that its cups were a problem and pledged to create a solution. The company committed to make its cups recyclable and serve more coffee in reusable cups. They set ambitious goals for 2012 and failed, then pushed the deadline to 2015, made no changes to their cups, then seemed to drop their commitment entirely.”

This hard to swallow for those individuals who have dug into Starbucks stance on Recycling, Sustainability & Waste Management. In many views this is a prime example of corporate greenwashing. The company is working with other companies to a better solution for recycling, but the reason they can’t recycle their cups is because these recycling companies can’t recycle Starbucks specialized cups. Starbucks continuously disobeys their customers by telling outright lies just to keep consumers happy. Many individuals feed the company ideas on how to convince consumers to bring back reusable cups. Starbucks responded by giving these customers 10 cents off of their purchase (I insert the crying face emoji here if possible). How about offering customers one dollar of their coffee where each the company and consumer are making the recycle process worthwhile.

The amount of benefits Starbucks would acquire by implementing a reusable cup on everyday activity would benefit tremendously. Starbucks is more concerned about having to double cup products, rather than implementing a cup that allows every company to recycle their wastes. Starbucks claims to be environmental friendly, however in 2008 the company wasted nearly 6.2 million gallons of water on a DAILY basis. They may have improved this number in 2016, but this is another example of Starbucks not being who they claim to be. Environmentalists are not being fooled by their greenwashing techniques used to manipulate society to become their customers.


Ali Danesh

3 thoughts on “Is Starbucks who we thought they were?

  1. It is almost like Starbucks is paying their customers to be quiet about the recycling issue for their cups. Also, since you mentioned more coffee was in the cups, does that mean the cups are also bigger and therefore there is more waste? Also, Starbucks supposedly has lower fat options or soy, but these alternatives aren’t actually what they say they are. I think some coffee is also claimed to be fair trade, but only when available (just like Chipotle with locally- sourced meat). It is crazy how much advertisements can trick us when they are only true 10% or less of the time!

    Annelise Wilimitis


  2. I really don’t care for starbucks much so this post really caught my eye honestly. They make there cups look completely recyclable so I really find it a shock they cant be. I agree that they should have re-usable cups that could act as some kind of member cup and provide a discount as it would also be saving the company money itself. I couldn’t believe the amount of wasted water though. It made me feel good about my overall choice to skip out on the starbucks craze. I feel that your post was very informative and have heard little on this issue as a whole so thanks for posting.
    -Tymandra Amburgy-


  3. This is an interesting idea. This is a similar issue to what the DAAP cafe recently tried to address. We were burning through 700 or 800 cups a day give or take, and they are all going into the trash. They started providing reusable mugs that people could borrow and bring back. While this idea is good in theory, this cup problem is not just Starbuck specific. Is there anything we can do to fundamentally change what cups are made of in a cost effecting, environmentally friendly way?

    Halle Van De Hey


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