Gallery: INTERVIEW: 8 Questions with Starbucks Global Responsibility VP...

7. Packaging is another major concern for food and beverage industry, and the paper cup is a ubiquitous identifier for a coffeehouse. You recently reduced your goal from serving 25% of coffee in reusable or recyclable cups by 2015 to 5%, what was the 5
 

7. Packaging is another major concern for food and beverage industry, and the paper cup is a ubiquitous identifier for a coffeehouse. You recently reduced your goal from serving 25% of coffee in reusable or recyclable cups by 2015 to 5%, what was the reasoning behind this reduction?

We thought we could reach our goal of 25 percent of all beverage cups because, on average, 20 percent of our business stays in store. If we could capture all of that in ceramics, then we could make up the 5 percent from consumers bringing their own cups. What we learned in the last few years was that the impact on store operations to ask every single customer if they wanted a ceramic cup was not something that helped the overall customer experience.

We're not walking away from the use of ceramics at all, they're right behind the barista and there's very visible cues for the customer to opt to use ceramics. What we're going to focus on measuring instead is the piece that we are already tracking — the number of times we give a discount to a customer who brings their own mug.

There's also a very strong consumer interest in having our cups be recyclable and making recycling available. We've had back of house recycling in our stores for at least a decade, and that includes things like milk jugs and other things we generate behind the bar. But the front of house recycling has really had high customer interest.

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  1. Erik Lindstrom October 28, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    It’s great to see that companies like Starbucks are spending the money to become more sustainable. I wish we would see more companies doing the same thing, but the biggest issue with sustainability and changing consumer behavior is that it’s expensive. Hopefully people begin to see the value in sustainability and take that into more consideration in their lives.

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