Following on from my post last week re: coffee shops and their ‘eco’ promises, I’m hoping to dig a bit deeper into the policies of Costa and Starbucks and what their targets are in terms of recycling and reducing waste, and whether they are meeting those targets.
On Starbucks ‘Environmental Stewardship’ site, they do list their objectives for recycling and talk about what they’re doing to achieve them. It seems that although they are trying to reduce the waste in-store and improve the ‘recyclability’ of their plastic/paper cups, they do suggest that some of the blame lies with local councils:
Hold your local government accountable. If commercial recycling services are not available in your community, encourage local government officials to address the issue. Often the same haulers who pick up residential recycling can provide commercial services too – if the right incentives are provided.
Whilst I don’t dispute this, I feel that maybe the size and ‘power’ of such a large international company means they would have more chance of taking on councils than us mere mortals. I understand that Starbucks can’t rule the roost when it comes to waste disposal and recycling facilities (they are only a coffee shop), but maybe they could make headway in ensuring recycling becomes a priority for commercial organisations.
In relation to ‘greener cups’, Starbucks says:
Our goal is that by 2015 100 percent of our cups will be reusable or recyclable. To help achieve this goal, we’ve made the following commitments:
- Developing and launching recyclable hot and cold cups by 2012
- Reducing paper and plastic cup usage in our stores by 25 percent by using reusable mugs instead
- Having recycling available in our stores
- Re-establishing glassware or ceramic mugs as our global standard for our customers who enjoy their beverages in our stores
The last point interests me – re-establishing ceramic mugs – does that mean they accept that stores often give out paper cups by default instead of offering ‘sit in’ customers? What is their policy on ‘take away or sit in?’ Is it the customer’s responsibility to ask for a ceramic or paper cup?
Moving on to Costa Coffee, I have emailed them to ask questions about their policies on recycling and waste management and whether or not staff are supposed to ask the ‘take away/sit in’ question. I hope that this will help shed light on whether the issues lie in head office policies or in-store practice. I also hope to speak to our uni cafe manager about the Costa outlet there; being part of the student campus, I see that maybe they just assume that all students will be ‘taking out’ but should they assume?
Anyway, more updates to follow when I get some response!