Starbucks, Maybe Not
At KeepCup we endeavour to strike a positive note, believing that being inclusive is the best way to engage people. It was in that spirit that I looked at Starbucks introduction of the $1 Starbucks reusable.
Since that post I read Greenwash; Big Brands and Carbon Scams by Guy Pearse and discovered the Starbucks reusable only lasts 30 washes and will melt in the dishwasher. How can a cup that lasts 30 washes be considered reusable?
The “recyclable polypropylene” that these new cups are made from does not account for the fact that in the US, domestic recycling of plastic is extremely uncommon. At $1 per cup and 20 uses, Starbucks has just made reusables disposable, and got its customers to pay it for the discount it provides.
This is just wrong. As Guy Pearse demonstrates over and over again,
In practice, ‘leadership on climate change’ doesn’t necessarily mean reducing a company’s current contribution to the problem – it means being noticeably greener than the competition and being perceived to be taking the big steps. It’s not [that they] can’t take the big steps, but that it makes better commercial sense not to until government policy forces their whole sector to move together. The role of greenwash is to stop these truths bubbling to the surface.
This policy comes on the back of a reduction of the goal of serving beverages in reusables from 25% by 2015 to 5%. 20% of Starbucks beverages are consumed in house. If Starbucks provided standard reusable crockery for “in house” consumption it could reach its 20% reuse rate overnight, diverting over 750,000,000 disposables from landfill every year. This would really send a signal about reuse and environmental responsibility.