5 Surprising Ways That Starbucks Practices Sustainability

When it comes to Starbucks, I think of good (overpriced) coffee. Although Starbucks has gotten some bad publicity lately (rightfully so I might add), typically they're known for their positive social impact. Starbucks is known for some awesome policies—on their website, they have a number of ways in which they are trying to have a positive impact on the world around them. This section of their website is divided into several categories with different ways that the company strives to have a positive impact on the community, but the subsection that stood out to me was the fact that Starbucks is committed to minimizing their environmental impact and inspiring others to do the same. The first thing you read on the page is, "As a company that relies on agricultural products, we have long been aware that the planet is our most important business partner."

Here are 5 practices you may not have known about that Starbucks is using to minimize their environmental impact. 

1. BYOT (bring your own thermos)

One of the ways that benefit both the environment and the customer is bringing your own coffee thermos. If you do this you’ll receive 10 cents off your drink and you won’t create waste! 

Photo by quan le on Unsplash

2. $2 Reusable Cups

In addition to running the discount for bringing a personal cup for your order, Starbucks has also launched $2 reusable cups in the U.S. and Canada. I think this is an admirable idea, but you get what you pay for—the cups aren’t great quality but they are a reasonable price and they get the job done.

3. Eco-Conscious Stores

Starbucks has been a leader in their industry when it comes to green building programs. Starbucks has taken part in the LEED certification which stands for Leader in Energy and Environmental Design. This certification has helped make new stores environmentally friendly and helped older stores transition as well. 

4. Water Conservation

After recognizing how important water conservation is, Starbucks has reduced their water usage by 26.5%. In addition to caring about their usage in stores, they've also increased their efforts to help with water in the communities where the coffee beans are grown. This has been done by providing resources to farmers to make sure their crop and access to clean drinking water is plentiful, but the impact on the environment is minimal.

5. Recycling

Starbucks is making an increased effort to recycle, but this may not be seen by the common person because a lot of the waste they generate is behind the scenes, like milk jugs and boxes. Starbucks itself doesn't have full control over the recycling since this is oftentimes mandated by landlords or local governments, but they are trying their best to allow the cups to be recycled in a variety of recycling systems.Starbucks still has some ways to go when it comes to going green, but progress is definitely being made.

Alli is majoring in Public Relations at UGA. She enjoys hiking, coffee, and reading. In her free time, you can find her hanging with her dog and binge-watching Gilmore Girls or Friends. She is eagerly waiting for more episodes of Black Mirror to be added to Netflix.

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