Starbucks Shareholders Reject Recycling Initiative


photo: J. Novak

The idea that Starbucks seems to be the last to jump onto the recycling bandwagon sort of blows my mind. Especially when their contribution to the problem is so massive. Currently, 3 billion of their paper coffee cups sold each year in the U.S. market alone end up in the landfill. The sheer volume has a huge impact. But according to the Seattle Times, still no action, last week shareholders at the annual meeting voted against proxy 3, the company's recycling initiative.

While 11 percent of Starbucks shareholders were in favor of a proposed recycling initiative, it was far from enough support for the measure's passage. The proposal asked the board of directors to adopt a comprehensive recycling strategy for beverage containers.

"I don't understand why they wouldn't make every effort to recycle. Why not?" investor Gail Trezise, of Seattle, said after Starbucks' annual shareholders meeting at McCaw Hall.

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz didn't directly discuss the question at all during the question and answer period.

According to Earth 911, As You Sow, an organization dedicated to using shareholder leverage to transform corporate behavior, was the leading force behind the recycling proposal. They plan to use their 11 percent support as bargaining power to bring the proposal up at next year's meeting. As You Sow produces a yearly beverage container recycling scorecard and the Starbucks grade last year was a big fat F. Currently, Starbuck's cups contain 10 percent post-consumer recycled fiber and it has committed to making all cups 100 percent recyclable by 2012. But many stores, including ours in Columbia, still do not have recycling and compost bins.

More on Starbucks:
Interview: Tony Gale, Corporate Architect at Starbucks
Starbucks' Farmers Discuss the Impact of Fairtrade
Green Mood Lighting for Starbucks! Switching 8,000 Stores to LEDs

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