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An Open Letter to Starbucks

An open letter to Starbucks: Think of the environment, not the Siren

Written by Mia Risser, age 18

Dear Starbucks corporations, 

I am writing to inform you that the amount of plastic you produce and use every day is a big problem.  As one of the biggest food and beverage companies in the world, you must try to better the environment in any way possible.  Whether it be making a reusable alternative or producing less plastic as a company in general, your impact on the environment must change.  A better environment is important for safety.  A strong environment is important for development.  A clean environment is important for human lives.

As someone who has worked at Starbucks for almost two years, I know I have a significant reason to be writing this letter.  In just a few hours, we go through hundreds of plastic cups.  Starbucks—more than any other to-go coffee shop—“uses more than 8,000 cups in a minute, which adds up to more than four billion in a year,” as stated in the article by the Clean Water Action called, “Starbucks and Our Plastic Pollution Problem.”  As of right now, there are a total of 15,444 Starbucks in the United States alone. This just shows how important it is for you as a company to take action.  Imagine how bad this can affect our environment when there are different Starbucks locations on every corner.  

A reusable cup option could be a big dealbreaker.  If you as a company converted to reusable and 100% recyclable cups, the environment would benefit so much more; you will find that customers would also be in favor of this plan.  They can bring in their cup every time they go to Starbucks, and perhaps decorate it how they want.  Personalized cups give people the opportunity to show off their style and personality.  There are so many ways you can go about this.  Overall, if you can think of any plastic cup alternatives, it would be amazing, for the people, and for the well-being of the environment.  

In the story Thinking Like a Mountain, Aldo Leopold tells the story of how thinking like a mountain means to have a complete appreciation for the profound interconnectedness of the elements in the ecosystems.  Learning to appreciate nature and the environment around us will benefit how we view the world around us.  Aldo Leopold states as humans, “we all strive for safety, prosperity, comfort, long life, and dullness.”  Because we all yearn for these simple things, we must take action in order to receive such things.  As a company as big as you, I believe it is important for you to stop or to limit the amount of plastic you’re producing as a whole.  Doing so will not only allow for a cleaner environment, but it will make the public more aware of the plastic problem.  

People from the outside may be thinking that the cups from Starbucks are fine—that they’re recyclable anyway, and you have paper cups as well.  What many people don’t know is that the paper hot cups are lined with plastic, proving that Starbucks as a company produces way more plastic than the public thinks.  The hot cups are even worse than the iced cups because the combination of both paper and plastic in the cups makes them nearly impossible to recycle.  

Well, Starbucks, you might be thinking that this is too big of a change. That it might cost even more money to produce more environmentally friendly products rather than plastic lined cups.  But, in the end, it should be worth it.  Making sure our environment is clean and safe is a big part of how humans survive.  So you, as a massive corporation, should consider this, even if it costs a lot of money.  The environment and how you’re viewed as a company is the most important thing to be focused on.  It is your duty as this huge corporation to take responsibility and implement change. 


Mia Risser  

This submission was part of an open letter assignment at Huntington Beach High School. If you are interested in submitting a post to EarthPlex, visit our Submit a Post page.


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