starbucks cups, starbucks reusable cups
Photo by Sorin Sîrbu on Unsplash

Starbucks disposable cup.

As a millennial born in 1988, it’s hard for me to think about coffee without in turn thinking about Starbucks. Since expanding nationwide in the 1990s, Starbucks has completely changed coffee culture. Some might say for better, others for worse. But a lasting change to say the least.

Even the Starbucks cups are famous. Odds are you’ve seen one in its regular white and green form (if you’re not drinking from one at this very moment, that is) or in a festive shade of red for the holiday season. Either way, it’s instantly recognizable. Or as Starbucks Chief Sustainability Officer Michael Kobori calls it, “ubiquitous.”

But in an interview with CNN Business, Kobori warns that these easily tossed disposable cups are also a “ubiquitous symbol of a throwaway society.”

With Starbucks serving around 6 billion disposable cups per year, he’s not wrong. Though the cups are recyclable, that doesn’t stop them from being thrown into landfills, if not littering the streets directly.

That’s why Kobori shares the company’s new solution: “eliminating the disposable cup” entirely by 2025.


The plan is to make the option of single-use paper or plastic cups much less attractive, similar to their swapping straws for lids with cold drinks. This includes possibly charging a small fee to use disposable cups, while experimenting with discounts and incentives to pull customers to the “green” side.

By the end of 2022, the company plans to allow customers to use their own reusable mugs, something that was temporarily suspended due to COVID-19. This time, however, being environmentally conscious might get you anywhere from 10 to 15 cents. Which any caffeine-aholic knows easily adds up day after day.
starbucks Snow White Coffee GIF Giphy

Starbucks is also considering adopting a borrow-a-mug program, where customers pay a small refundable deposit in exchange for a cup rental.

The company did a two-month beta version of the program in none other than Starbucks’ hometown of Seattle. When customers returned the cup, they not only got their $1 deposit back, they also received 10 rewards points. Though many customers have come to rely on Starbucks for its convenience, the test was positively received. Store Manager Kim Davis noted that both the baristas and customers were on board, saying that “the excitement and engagement was really high.”

There is still one major obstacle: the drive-thru window. Oh, and mobile orders. So make that two obstacles. These are simple conveniences that customers have come to expect from Starbucks. It’s a brilliant move for the business model, but makes the sustainability goal a bit more complicated. Especially considering that more than half of all sales are made by people cruising by in their cars or ordering on the app.

starbucks cups Anne Hathaway Starbucks GIF Giphy

A few mock-up stores have been set up to test different options. One being obvious: customers simply handing over their reusable cups to the barista at the drive-thru window. Another is to have them drop off their cup at an earlier drive-thru point, so that the drink is ready once they swing around to pay. Plus premaking the drinks to then pour into the reusable cups once the driver pulls up. I can see the potential for mess with that last one, but the point is: Solutions are being tested.

As for the mobile purchases, that seems to be an especially tall order. Venti, even. But Starbucks is nothing if not innovative. On more than one occasion, the company's forward thinking has completely changed the coffee game. It made “single origin” hip, nondairy milk and plant-based food accessible, and folk jazz the official cafe sound. It certainly feels like if any single business entity can guide us as a society toward improved coffee habits, it’s the one repped by the green mermaid.

May her siren song lead us all to a better, more sustainable future.

Joy

Meet Eva, the hero dog who risked her life saving her owner from a mountain lion

Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva when a mountain lion suddenly appeared.

Photo by Didssph on Unsplash

A sweet face and fierce loyalty: Belgian Malinois defends owner.

The Belgian Malinois is a special breed of dog. It's highly intelligent, extremely athletic and needs a ton of interaction. While these attributes make the Belgian Malinois the perfect dog for police and military work, they can be a bit of a handful as a typical pet.

As Belgian Malinois owner Erin Wilson jokingly told NPR, they’re basically "a German shepherd on steroids or crack or cocaine.”

It was her Malinois Eva’s natural drive, however, that ended up saving Wilson’s life.

According to a news release from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva slightly ahead of her when a mountain lion suddenly appeared and swiped Wilson across the left shoulder. She quickly yelled Eva’s name and the dog’s instincts kicked in immediately. Eva rushed in to defend her owner.

It wasn’t long, though, before the mountain lion won the upper hand, much to Wilson’s horror.

She told TODAY, “They fought for a couple seconds, and then I heard her start crying. That’s when the cat latched on to her skull.”

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Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

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Sandy Hook school shooting survivors are growing up and telling us what they've experienced.

This story originally appeared on 12.15.21


Imagine being 6 years old, sitting in your classroom in an idyllic small town, when you start hearing gunshots. Your teacher tries to sound calm, but you hear the fear in her voice as she tells you to go hide in your cubby. She says, "be quiet as a mouse," but the sobs of your classmates ring in your ears. In four minutes, you hear more than 150 gunshots.

You're in the first grade. You wholeheartedly believe in Santa Claus and magic. You're excited about losing your front teeth. Your parents still prescreen PG-rated films so they can prepare you for things that might be scary in them.

And yet here you are, living through a horror few can fathom.

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