I am at Starbucks. Damn it.

I am studying with a friend right now and we’ve been occupying this corner in a Starbucks for a couple of hours now.
Perhaps all this hard work I’m doing tired me out. I let my guard down. Maybe it’s auto-pilot syndrome…

My first drink was totally in a ceramic mug. What do you take me for, people? ;D
But I just went back (to the same barista) to ask for a second drink. It came in the paper to-go cup.

I didn’t ask for a for-here cup that time.


“Starbucks white paper cups, used for hot beverages, are made of paper fiber and the industry standard liner (low-density polyethylene plastic). The paper provides the rigidity for the cup, while the plastic layer keeps the paper layer intact by protecting it from the hot beverage. This plastic layer also makes the hot beverage cups unrecyclable in most paper recycling systems. We are continually evaluating alternatives to the current plastic coating, and are currently conducting life cycle assessments for bio-based plastics.”

I’m sipping my warm milk from my first to-go cup boasting that ever-familiar Starbucks branding. Talk about 21st Century problems, eh?

On a more positive note, I’m stoked to spend some time writing some really positive and exciting posts in the future. I’ve got lots of stories and videos to share.


One Comment to “I am at Starbucks. Damn it.”

  1. HEY. I am grateful for your post, actually. Starbucks (I worked for for all of 4 months in 2004) is many things but responsible. They are a great model for marketing. They are a safe, clean public washroom. They are a socially acceptable drug pusher (lets call a horse a horse, here) boasting in house products made of flour, sugar and caffeine. I am only 10 years in the holistic health industry but have observed that these 3 ingredients are pretty much the fundamental catalysts for disease in our diets. The root is actually what we think/feel that cause these ingredients to even be desired in the first place. Starbucks plays a functional role in our society of convenience and they effectively fleece the public with effective, accessible environments for talking, meeting, working online, and oh yeah-drinking coffee products.
    I was never a fan, so I wont pretend. But when I attended training 8 years ago, I had noticed the aloofness towards their signature cup, the crazy amount of daily garbage (a small price to pay for great, consistent marketing) and the total lack of interest in leading the way (or even following) the lead of environmental concern. When I asked about the need for the bleached cup or the prominence of paper over ceramic, they quickly moved on. The regional mangers had to answer and they of course promoted the personal choice of the customer (have you noticed most locations carry a dozen to zero ceramic mugs?) So, even back then, when they still had room to dominate the coffee industry, they cared less. While I was sketching recycling bins in my design sketchbook, it took 8 years to see them come to life *in relatively the same design* and appear as an *option* for customers to which only *some* of their products can actually be sorted. The amount of garbage thrown out each day is astounding-perhaps equal to that of 2004 when there were less products on their shelves.

    Even though I was not a supporter of Starbucks from the beginning, their impact created a deepening of interest in other competing cafes to serve fair trade or local coffee and in charming, enviro-friendly ceramic mugs.
    Kind of like when a personal problem actually propels you forward in your personal development journey, Starbucks is like that mid-life crisis that actually brings you to the foot of a healthy, fulfilling lifestyle. Starbucks is a catalyst for better choices elsewhere, and so I appreciate it for that. Now, our effective voice is our dollar. I suggest using Starbucks for the bathroom, bring your own cup when you must meet someone there, and balance your choice by going to a local cafe who actually does love the environment.
    I would love to see a line of t-shirts that has a picture of Jesus with the quote “Jesus forgives you..for your Starbucks habit” and have Jesus and the tired anxious coffee drinker on top of a mountain of Starbucks paper cups with dying trees around them.

    What do you think ?

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