Starbucks. Can you do better?


Here’s a letter I just sent to Starbucks.  I really can’t believe that they are still not on board on this recycling/composting thing.  I have to admit, they will never hold a flame to Bittersweet or Paul’s in Louisville – because they have live music and a home-y vibe and gluten-free treats that Starbucks will never be able to master, but if you’re rushed, or you have a sleeping baby in your car, the Starbucks drive through is an actual requirement if you are to make it through this crazy/rushed/screaming/sleeping/road raged western world.  Yes.  I am exaggerating, but hey – we all have our addictions.  Normally I wouldn’t want someone to steal my text, but on this occasion, feel free to copy and paste this (or change it a bit to fit your town) and go to and send them a letter!  I wonder if it’s possible to inspire change in a company that once was that local small coffee shop.  I wonder if we can remind them of the importance of the world.  Let’s try.  It’s fun.  Pass this to EVERYONE!!  I love this planet, and I’ve contributed to its imminent environmental downfall in my own ways.  But now I’m older and wiser.  Having a baby reminds you of how tender all life is, including our earth.  Let’s give her a break, already!  Now, get out there and hug a tree, dammit!

Dear Starbucks,

I remember the day I first saw a Starbucks in Boulder. It moved into an old gas station next to C.U. Then one popped up next door, and across the street, and in the grocery story. It’s a powerful company, and having lived in WA for part of my life, I support the number of jobs this company has created. Starbucks is a goliath at this point, and yet I am consistently disappointed – not by the coffee or the service – but by your lack of respect for the environment. Not only have I never seen a recycling bin in your stores (for the multitude of teens who drink their frappucinos), I can not recycle your hot coffee cups even if I take them home. I have to fill land fills with your lids. This is such a bummer to me. I live in a community that I am so proud of because they provide curbside composting. It’s a small town that has received national attention time and again for being the number one place in our country to have a family. I have to admit, if I have the time, I chose a small coffee shop just down the street from you because they HAVE RECYCLING BINS, COMPOSTABLE CUPS, LIDS, and even the cozy that keeps your hands from getting burned (they also have local Bahkti Chai which is better than butter). I love these people because they obviously care about our community and the world. Starbucks has a business model that people strive for, and a record of incredible success. Why not at least set an example to the world, demonstrating that you can have a SUPER successful business AND care for the planet. I adore the fact that Starbucks is getting more ethical in its choices of coffee, but this could really push the company into new territory. Imagine not only providing jobs in an economy that truly stinks, but not further destroying our planet in the process. I want our small coffee shops to survive around here, and I will keep supporting them when I can. When I’m in a hurry, I’d love to hit the drive through at Starbucks. Make this a more appealing option for me, won’t you? Because right now I feel massive ethical environmental guilt by frequenting your stores. That’s such a drag. An unnecessary drag. Be bold, Starbucks, admit that you can learn from the little guys, and set an example for the others.

COMPOSTABLE cups, recycling bins: Welcome to 2012. Join us. We won’t bite.
– Louisville, Colorado

3 responses »

  1. …to be fair, let me share what I heard back from the Bucks.

    Dear Krista,

    Thank you for contacting Starbucks.

    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

    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 .

    If you have additional questions or comments, please contact us at or call 1-800-782-7282 to speak directly with a customer relations representative.

    Thank you again for contacting Starbucks Coffee Company.


    Victor B.
    Customer Relations Representative

  2. …and my next reply to Starbucks

    Thank you for sharing the link, Victor. I am surprised that it will take 3 more years to implement recycling. Why not start today? All that’s needed is a can, standard trash style, that says “Recycling.” I think three years is a bit long to wait for that. Maybe I can take my own in.
    This is just silly. Even the trash area in a typical Starbucks has the hole for trash.
    Why can’t there be a hole for recycling?
    Why is that so difficult?
    Why three years?
    How much more plastic can we stick into landfills from the multitude of Starbucks across the world?
    Check Whole Foods, for example. Their waste stations next to their coffee bar have a hole for compostables, landfill, and recycling.
    People can handle this, for the most part. I believe it might be part of the reason we have opposable thumbs: to separate our recycling.

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