[Photo provided by Starbucks Korea Co.]
Starbucks Korea Co., local subsidiary of global coffee giant Starbucks Corp., said on Tuesday that it will replace plastic straws with paper ones and remove plastic bags and other unnecessary packaging materials at its nationwide stores to safeguard the environment.
The campaign - dubbed Greener Starbucks Korea - is aimed at reducing disposable products such as plastic straws long enough to stretch up to 37,800 kilometers a year when connected. Starbucks Korea plans to gradually provide 1,180 stores with paper straws to replace plastic ones after trial operations this year. For ice drinks, the coffee brand will replace plastic straws with recyclable, strawless lids.
The plastic straw has recently become a hot button environment issue because it is blamed for heavily polluting the ocean and landfills after light-weight, thin plastics straws are often deserted and tossed away without being recycled.
The Korean subsidiary’s move follows after its U.S.-based parent company on Monday (local time) announced that it will phase out plastic straws from its more than 28,000 stores worldwide by 2020, a decision that will eliminate more than 1 billion straws a year.
According to Starbucks Korea, it consumes 180 million 21-centimeter plastic straws in the country every year that weigh total 126 tons.
The Korean division will also replace in-store plastic packages with environmentally-friendly materials such as papers and four-cup paper carriers and plastic bags with paper packaging materials once they run out of stock.
Since last month the coffee store has been issuing electronic receipts to all 4 million My Starbucks Reward members instead of paper receipts. Starbucks Korea said that it has been able to save up 9 million paper receipts last month thanks to the electronic receipts.
An unnamed official from Starbucks Korea said that it has been managing a task force since March consisting employees from 10 different teams including purchasing, beverages, food, merchandizing, interior, and public relations and corporate social responsibility. The task force has arranged a company-wide environmentally-friendly project to be applied to all operation areas at Starbucks stores, the official said.
By Lee Duk-joo and Lee Eun-joo
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business News Korea & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]