If Starbucks isn’t your go-to for mocha frappuccinos, you’re probably living on another planet. Known for its wide range of flavors and misspelling names, the coffee chain is the largest in the world. With coffee moguls inventing edible coffee capsules, Starbucks still needs to step up its sustainability game. At GeekWire’s annual summit, protesters demanded recyclable cups from the food giant, creating a Cup Monster made with Starbucks products.
“If Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson is serious about transforming his company into a tech leader, he must first solve his company’s biggest environmental liability: the 8,000 [plus] cups that go into landfills every minute of every day,” said Stand.earth spokesperson Ross Hammond.
What makes Starbucks cups mostly un-recyclable is its inner plastic lining. While the company claims to incorporate post-consumer fibers into its cups, recycling methods vary among different states.
“It’s important to note that what is recyclable varies significantly by municipality and sometimes even by store. We pay local private haulers across the country to collect and recycle hot cups along with our other recyclable products, compost and trash.”
Extremely recyclable? Sort of recyclable? Regardless of how recyclable Starbucks thinks its products are, there is always room to be more eco-conscious.
Coffee: it’s every workaholic’s go-to beverage and, astoundingly, perfect for manufacturing sportswear. Nowadays, it isn’t just perfect for a pick-me-up — it’s potentially fueling London’s signature double-decker buses.
“Instead of sending a tonne of waste coffee grounds to landfill where it degrades and releases methane and CO2, we collect it, recycle it and turn it into a renewable fuel which is then used to replace further conventional fuels – so it’s a double saving”, [said] Bio-bean founder Arthur Kay.
Among the heaviest Americano consumers, Londoners contribute up to 200,000 tons of coffee waste annually. To make the most out of discarded grounds, Bio-bean is extracting 6,000 liters of oil to mix into fuel. The final blend is of 20% biofuel, which will also help to reduce carbon emissions.
“We’re not saying that it’s going to totally replace fossil fuels overnight,” Kay said.
“The amount of diesel produced globally is always going to be more than the amount of coffee.”
Considering London buses run nearly 2 billion trips a year, Bio-bean’s initiative could encourage alternative energy use. Perhaps a beer fuel may even be in talks.
Kind gestures are often extra special when received from a stranger. Do-gooders like Brennon Jones, a barber for the homeless, can probably vouch for that. A little always goes a long way, sometimes even saving a life. Such was the case for Glen Oliver, who inspired an anonymous suicidal coffeegoer to live by paying for his drink.
“I wondered why someone would buy coffee for a stranger for no reason. Why me? Why today? If I was a religious sort I would take this as a sign. This random act of kindness was directed at me on this day for a purpose,” [read a letter sent to a local column.]
Oliver, who had once shouldered a needy shopper’s tab, claimed paying it forward had simply become a habit. Giving out a free beverage and even picking up a bill was just an everyday routine.
“It’s exponential now, you know? Like such a small, insignificant thing to most people just turned out to be … the planets align for somebody.” [said Oliver.]
The going may get tough, but the tough often bounce back — kind gestures are always welcome!
When determined joggers aren’t plucking trash off running paths, coffee-goers are investing in reusable to-go cups. Yet plastic pollution persists around the globe, inspiring other groups to make initiatives. Playing its part in a more eco-friendly society is dessert colossus Dunkin’ Donuts. The popular brand is hacking its disposable foam cups by 2020 for a sustainable substitute — but the process hasn’t been easy.
“Transitioning 9,000 restaurants from our iconic foam coffee cup is a big decision that has implications for our franchisees’ bottom line and the guest experience, and we did not want to take it lightly,” the company said.
Deciding against a polypropylene cup, Dunkin’ Donuts is trying out double-walled paper. It’s far superior in terms of recyclability and how easily it’ll biodegrade, and a total hit with sustainable forestry standards.
“With more than 9,000 Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants in the U.S. alone, our decision to eliminate foam cups is significant for both our brand and our industry,” [said] Karen Raskopf, Chief Communications and Sustainability Officer.
Lucky for us kids, the material will still, apparently, keep drinks piping hot. No one wants to sip on a cold Americano.
Incentives such as edible coffee capsules and money-back deposits are finally making rounds in popular cafes. Though sustainable coffee has caused a significant ripple in the waste world, old habits die hard. To encourage coffeegoers to indulge in reusable tumblers, Starbucks is charging Londoners 5p for paper cups.
“To that end we will be exploring the impact that a cup charge may have in changing behaviour in addition to the measures we, and the whole industry, are taking on cup recycling,” [said Starbucks in an official statement.]
While Starbucks’ paper cups are recyclable, its thin sliver of plastic lining isn’t. Still, everyone’s go-to caffeine stop is better off than most. Plus, the cup money it raises will fund a “behavior change study” in the hopes of encouraging consumers to go green.
“We will investigate the impact of a 5p charge on a paper cup, coupled with prominent marketing of reusable cups, on customer behaviour,” the statement continues.
Well, folks — mug season starts today!
If anything can get me through a stressful day, it’s coffee. Who needs an upper when you can chug an Americano? Still, masked by its drool-worthy kick, coffee to-go is perpetrating a massive pollution issue. To deal with mountains of plastic waste, edible coffee capsules are making an appearance. Further giving consumers an incentive is the Freiburg Cup, which buyers can take and return for a 1 euro incentive.
Participating stores have an identifying green sticker in the window. When you return the cup, these stores will disinfect and reuse the cups, which can be reused up to 400 times.
As a country that dispenses 300,000 coffee cups an hour, Germany makes a great candidate for the Freiburg. That amounts to a migraine-inducing 2.8 billion tossed cups a year. Though the Freiburg Cup is plastic, it’s significantly less problematic than paper cups.
It’s made from polypropylene and [does] not contain BPA or plasticizers. And according to the book Life Without Plastic, polypropylene is fairly heat resistant and considered “relatively safe.”
The Freiburg still has some tweaks to undergo, but it sure makes up for forgetting your coffee tumbler. And you even get your euro back!
For people on the go, coffee is a must-have. While many shops offer bring-your-own-tumbler discounts, for most, a take-out paper cup will do. They aren’t the easiest to recycle, but its plastic creamer capsules that take the cake. To combat plastic pollution, scientists invented edible coffee capsules for cream and sugar. This is another feat for the coffee industry, which recently involved coffee grounds in the making of sportswear.
The capsules are made with a crystalline, sugary layer that keeps the milk sealed inside at room temperature. Once added to your drink, the capsule dissolves and unleashes the douse of milky sweetness.
There are two types of capsules — sucrose capsules for a sweeter touch, and erythritol capsules for something more bitter. The milk, if sealed, remains good for three weeks.
“The capsules could replace the small, extremely unpractical coffee creamer packaging that is used in great quantities at conferences or on airplanes,”
Creators of the Keurig cup and Nespresso pod have since expressed regret for engineering such environmentally damaging products. After all, we shouldn’t seek convenience at the expense of the environment.
Trends may come and go, but eco-conscious clothing looks like it’s here to stay. If you’re planning to revamp your wardrobe into something more environmentally friendly, you may want to invest in Rumi X. The sustainable sportswear brand reuses plastic and even coffee grounds.
‘Rumi X was born out of my three passions: spirituality, yoga, and nature,’ [said creator Melissa Chu]
‘I wanted to develop something that spoke to the devotion of my practice and honour my source of energy from spirituality, while simultaneously ensuring that our products were environmentally impactful and contributing to the solution, not being part of the problem.’
Chu further explains that Rumi X is about being mindful of oneself and of others. As with most environmental activists, Rumi X begins with awareness.
‘Rumi X is about living a mindful lifestyle, taking care of yourself within, and being good to the world around you,’
‘We take care of our body, mind, and soul, and we take care of others around us to feel good.’
Rumi has not only done a great job recycling and upcycling materials, it is also affordable and accessible to customers.
‘Whether you are reducing your plastic waste or inspired to develop sustainable products as a business, we do hope that we can inspire each individual to become more mindful in their everyday life,’
If you are picking up coffee wear any time soon, I hear it also does wonders for body odor. Work that body out!
Not every artist is keen on using just paint. Some use garbage. Others prefer books. And those who fear nothing use blood. This celebrity-obsessed artist creates portraits using baking ingredients such as salt, coffee, and baking soda.
[Allan] Wallace works with all kinds of mediums, from common oil paint and spray paint, to tree leaves and cereal.
Salt was only the beginning, as he quickly realized that he could achieve similar results with other grainy or powdery things, like coffee or baking soda.
The impressive artist has already garnered the attention of comedy giant Kevin Hart, whom he created a salt portrait for. But Wallace’s work is no laughing matter, proving he can “paint” on pretty much any surface.
In case you’re wondering what Wallace uses as a canvas for his salt portraits, he sometimes sprinkles the salt on a black board, but most times he just uses his living room table.
Wallace is clearly appreciative of his fans on social media.
“It was mind-blowing. I felt really blessed. I am an artist and I want other people to love my work. I love it when individuals acknowledge the work I put in.”
Remember, kids: if you’re a budding Da Vinci without access to acrylics or oils, you can always raid your kitchen.