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Interesting piece in the Columbus Dispatch that challenges Starbucks on its attitude toward recycling. According to the Dispatch, “Starbucks goes through roughly 2.3 billion paper cups a year and touts its national award for using cups made of 10 percent recycled material,” but while it “promotes recycling on its cups … the cups themselves aren't recyclable here or in most other cities nationwide.”

Apparently, “the plastic coating that keeps the cup from leaking also prevents it from being recycled with other paper products. That could be overcome, but it would cost more.” And, the paper writes, “Starbucks cups aren't compostable, and the company doesn't offer free reusable cups. But it sells travel mugs and offers a 10-cent discount to customers who bring their own cups,” an offer that the company says customers in the United States and Canada took advantage of 17 million times last year, saving more than 300 tons of paper.

A Starbucks spokesperson says that a more recyclable cup isn’t an option, though critics suggest that the company doesn’t want to spend more money on a different cup, which would raise the cost of its coffee.
KC's View:
I rarely say anything negative about Starbucks, but in this case I think that the company probably has to look for options that will allow it to avoid even the appearance of hypocrisy. The reality of today’s information-driven world is that these kinds of stories tend to gain a certain level of traction, which can create issues for a company.

The concepts of sustainability and environmental-minded marketing are becoming more pervasive, and aren’t just about plastic shopping bags. I tend to believe that Starbucks will do the right thing, mostly because it tends to be a company with its priorities in the right order.