Making-Sustainable-Consumer-Choices

Say It Isn’t So! Your Starbucks Cup Goes In The Trash

By PowerHouse Growers | Uncategorized

Making Sustainable Consumer Choices

Like a lot of you, Starbucks coffee happens to be a way of life, a daily treat that adds value to the day. On autopilot, I assume these companies are socially and environmentally responsible and so naturally all of their products go straight into the recycle bin. As it turns out that’s not entirely the case. Recently my friend brought up the topic of “greenwashing”– the marketing practice of deceiving consumers into thinking the organization is environmentally friendly but in fact isn’t. Feeling violated, I started to take a closer look at my consumption and purchasing choices.  As I analyzed my spending I took a closer look at the provider of my caffeine habit. Alas I discover the cups I’m tossing into the recycling bin are not recyclable – just the lids? Really? Oh, and the cardboard sleeve.

By living The Urban Lifestyle, I have declared it my social responsibility to ensure the products I’m using are renewable, reusable, and recyclable. This includes choosing to shop at the businesses that are actively making greener choices.  It is about researching and educating myself on finding alternative solutions that make a difference. By simply taking the time to form new habits, like bringing my own cup when getting my coffee, or packing my lunch in eco-products, I know I am making a positive impact. I can feel good about the mark I am leaving on my community.

Though not perfect, Starbucks does take major steps to be globally responsible. Using LEED building standards for new construction, the company is able to reduce both their energy and water consumption which all go towards lowering their environmental impact. As for the cups, according to their website they “are committed to doing more and continue to search for new ways to reduce the environmental footprint of our disposable cups and other packaging.” Learn more about what Starbucks is doing to make a difference.

Another major company that is admittedly not perfect but plans to improve is Whole Foods. They have made it their mission to find sustainable, healthy ways to reduce their environmental impact. They understand that the endeavor begins from the top down and they are genuinely passionate about finding viable solutions. Click here to learn more about Whole Foods’ Green Mission.

Though we have come a long way we still have a long way to go. It is major world leaders and businesses who can set the example and make the necessary strides to get our planet back on track. Unfortunately some of us have come from a throwaway generation and we can’t just rely on business and government. Ultimately consumers hold the power and it’s all about the choices you make each day that will affect our world today and tomorrow. The future of the city you live in can be decided by you. What steps are you making?

To learn more about greenwashing and other helpful consumer resources check out the links below:

Greenwashing Index

Environmental Leader’s World’s Greenest Companies

The Sustainable MBA’s Guide to Making More Sustainable Choices

Make a difference at your office. Check out “Turn Your Office Eco-Friendly”.

Photo Credit: Sustainable Choices, Taiga Company, 23 September 2009

About The Author

PowerHouse Growers
PowerHouse Growers teaches you how to sustainably integrate urban agriculture into your cities, businesses, and homes. We provide clear solutions and benefits for better health, increased productivity, and lower environmental impact. By connecting you with experts, we bring awareness to solutions that may not be top of mind.