March 29, 2010 (7:28 am)

Trying So Hard to Be Green… and Then This Happens

by Kristen Suzanne

My husband proudly walks in with his green Starbucks' BPA-free, 100% recycled plastic tumbler...

My husband recently picked up one of Starbuck’s new eco-friendly tumblers, (BPA-free and made from 100% recycled plastic) so that he would no longer be wasting the paper cups and corrugated heat sleeves every time he stops for some coffee. Last night we decided to take a fun trip to Starbucks to enjoy some decaf soy lattes under the stars with our dogs in tow. I grabbed one of the old travel mugs I had around the house so I could participate in saving a paper cup.

My husband went inside to order while I watched the dogs outside at the tables. He came out with the drinks and told me that, despite our best attempts at being green with our travel mugs, it didn’t exactly happen that way. You see, apparently, when a barista is given a travel mug, if he/she can’t remember the order, then the barista can use a specially designed post-it note that matches what the regular paper Starbucks cups look like (where they check off boxes detailing the order’s specifics). They attach the note to the travel mug, make the drink, and remove the note before giving the customer the drink.

... and they still manage to waste more of these.

Turns out, they were out of post-it notes last night, so you know what the barista did? She wrote our orders on two empty Starbucks cups, made the drinks, and then threw the paper cups away. Ouch! WTF? The whole point of using the travel mugs was to reduce. I think that the most she should’ve done was write the order on a small scrap piece of paper, or just simply ask my husband to repeat the order as she made the drinks (there was nobody else in the store, waiting in line, etc.), but… to write each order on a separate cup? Really?? Ai Yai Yai!

Source: LA Times

I don’t mean to come down hard on this particular barista who was just trying to do her job quickly, but this is what happens when people subconsciously think of the cost of garbage as “free.” But on the bright side, the fact that Starbucks now offers eco-friendly tumblers is evidence that the mentality is changing (by trash volume, Starbucks is an offender of epic proportions, but they are also making strides to improve, albeit much too slowly IMO).

If you’re a Starbucks regular, please pick up one of the green tumblers if you haven’t already. Starbucks gives you a ten-cent, “no cup” discount, meaning the tumbler pays for itself after about ~100 cups, and forever thereafter will save you money and the planet, one paper cup at a time.

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Kristen Suzanne is a Raw food chef and author who blogs about all things green and mommy-related! More...

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