This week I decided to look into some of the most sustainable or eco-friendly businesses. When conducting research, I found this Forbes article which gave a list dedicated to listing the most sustainable businesses (link is here). What I found interesting here is that when looking at the data they used to make this decision, aside from the company’s use of carbon, coal, and other non-renewable energies, they also looked at the diversity and ethicality of a company. Though this may not have a direct impact on the environment, I found it interesting that the researchers for this list decided to include this requirement. Another thing about this list is that there is only one food company listed: McCormick, which ranks #23 on this list. The majority of companies on this list tend to be ones which deal either with electronics and software or are companies which make components to be used.
Aside from this, I decided to look into how much waste I am generating through my coffee drinking habits. After doing some research, I found one person who decided to go ahead and calculate how many cups Starbucks uses per year (link to their blog), and we can extrapolate from this that the majority of these cups are not being recycled. According to his calculations and the information derived from the data Starbucks provides about its consumer behavior, it was calculated that for the year of 2013, Starbucks used roughy 3 billion cups in its stores. Over the previous five years, this number would most likely have increased, and I do not want to think about how many of those cups are still decomposing.
Personally, I feel that the most trouble for these things is the convenience. It’s so easy to just run into a coffee shop or order from a restaurant and get your things to go rather than bring your own and have to wash them out constantly and bring your reusable items wherever you go. However, after doing this research, I’d rather bring my own things than to continually contribute to the rapidly increasing about of single use items.
As far as making a larger change, I believe it would be interesting to see what would happen if a cafe stopped offering single-use cups for a day. Obviously, there would need to be some inexpensive alternative available for those who forgot to bring a reusable cup. That being said, I also know that in the U.S., Europe, and Canada, Starbucks offers a reusable plastic cup for 1 US Dollar, or 6RMB. Often, if people choose to buy this cup, Starbucks will also have a special offer as well. These special offers most often include savings for customers when they bring in a cup or go so far as to receive free coffee when they bring in a cup for a month. Yet even will all these offers in place, people still rarely bring in their own reusable containers in order to favor convenience.
Here are some other interesting things I found while researching: