Earlier this week, I went to a Starbucks in lower Manhattan and purchased a bottled water.
Once I finished the water, I walked around the store searching for a recycling can but couldn’t find one, so I asked a barista for help.
She told me that there was no place to recycle in the store.
I was surprised. Could it really be true that I couldn’t recycle at a Starbucks store with a display dedicated to reusable cups?
Starbucks bottled water is called Ethos, and the company donates five cents per bottle toward purifying drinking water in other countries. The coffee chain has consistently had a tendency to promote its environmentalism.
I wrote to Starbucks asking why it doesn’t have recycling in NYC stores.
“Our recycling policies are dependent on the local infrastructure,” a spokeswoman told me. “New York City doesn’t recognise our cups are a recyclable product yet, so we are working with the city to take cups and recycle them.”
Stores in other locations do recycle cups, bottles, and cans, she said.
The NYC stores should be able to recycle by mid-May, the spokeswoman said. The details have yet to be ironed out, so she couldn’t provide any more specifics.
But why not recycle plastics and cans at Starbucks?
“Because that begs the question of why customers can’t recycle cups,” she said, adding that it’s likely that consumers would throw cups and other waste into a recycling bin.
New York City mandates recycling of cardboard, aluminium, and plastic at most businesses.
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