Stop Starbucks from Throwing Away Recyclables


Target: Howard Schultz, Chairman and CEO of Starbucks

Goal: Divert thousands of plastic and paper products from the waste stream by pressuring Starbucks to recycle

With over 20,000 locations worldwide, Starbucks Coffee Company serves an inconceivable number of customers per day. Therefore, it generates a massive amount of waste. Although stores provide a designated recycling bin alongside the trash bin, insiders have verified that some stores haul both recyclables and trash out to the dumpster because it is more convenient.

These dishonest methods of disposal mean that the efforts of the general public to recycle are being negated. Not only are customers who value sound environmental practices being deceived, but they are also unwillingly contributing to the waste stream. Starbucks sells millions of coffee drinks on a daily basis, each of which is usually contained in either a paper or plastic cup. The number of these cups that eventually make it to recycling facilities is unknown, though it is certain that many are delivered to landfills. As landfills across the world are quickly reaching maximum capacity, this is an issue that cannot be ignored.

In fact, this practice directly contradicts Starbucks’ declared commitment to sustainability and corporate social responsibility. Starbucks’ website explicitly states that it is dedicated to “Minimizing our environmental footprint and encouraging others to do the same.” Furthermore, it goes on to say that, “Providing recycling in our stores and ensuring the recyclability of our cups are two of our foremost priorities.”

If this is true, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz will undoubtedly take immediate action in dissolving the incongruence. By responding to this petition, Starbucks will reaffirm its commitment to ethical business standards; it will communicate the importance of recycling to its employees and provide training on environmentally-friendly conduct. Finally, Starbucks will require managers to closely regulate methods of disposal.


Dear Mr. Schultz,

An unknown number of Starbucks stores are deliberately throwing away recyclables because of sheer convenience. This is a result of both employee indolence as well as apathy towards the Starbucks ideal of environmental stewardship.

Customers who choose to recycle their cups and other items are being deceived, which not only violates their values but also those that your company certainly strives to embody. Your website declares a commitment to social corporate responsibility, and your employees should dispose of recyclables accordingly.

Please require that employees dump waste and recyclables in their proper designated locations. I urge you to provide on-site training to employees on the importance of recycling and other means of environmentally-friendly conduct. Lastly, to guarantee the effectiveness of this policy, please place additional responsibility on store managers to oversee this practice.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Brad P. via Flickr

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