Today (4-14-2010) I realized that the 2009 re-usable cup/tumblers data are available from Starbucks now.  This topic is important enough to be its own blog post, even if  just a few hundred words. What the 2009 numbers show is dismal improvement to get customers to understand that they have to STOP using a paper cup.  STOP. I write this on the verge of tomorrow’s free coffee event at Starbucks (if you bring in your own tumbler).  This is an effort to get people to stop using a paper cup. Let’s get to the facts:

In 2008, according to Starbucks Shared Planet Report, 1.3% of customers brought their own tumbler into a Starbucks.

In 2009, according to Starbucks Shared Planet Report, 1.5% of customers brought their own tumbler into a Starbucks.

That is dismal.  I think that many consumers do not understand that recycling is NOT a panacea for our consumption problem on this planet.  It’s a last ditch effort. It’s a tremendous amount of wasted energy as recyclables must be sorted, transported to a recycling plant, converted into something new, re-transported into our stream of commerce, and finally it will land in the hand of a consumer, possibly.  This is not a solution. It may give the customer a false sense of “feel good” but it shifts responsibility away from the customer and onto the backs of the those industries that have to deal with recyclables.

The better answer, as Starbucks knows, is that the customer must bring in their own cup. It’s good for everyone. It’s good for the earth. It reduces consumption. Heck, it significantly reduces operating costs at a Starbucks. Starbucks uses BILLIONS of cups each year.

TOMORROW is free drip-brewed coffee day at Starbucks if you bring in your own tumbler.

We have so much work to do. So make tomorrow the start of your everyday habit to bring in your own tumbler.

And I’m definitely interested to hear how everyone’s free coffee day went!

Previous blog post with the 2008 Shared Planet Report data:

Commentary: Recyclable Cups and Starbucks

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