Environmentalists criticize Starbucks for their environmental impact because of the massive amounts of paper waste generated by the company. The 2.5 billion paper cups Starbucks use every year are not recyclable. In addition to the cups, the plastic lids and stoppers used by the company create a large amount of waste.
Starbucks is also criticized for using milk from cows that have been treated with the bovine growth hormone.
Starbucks has been criticized by environmentalists, but it has been celebrated by them as well. The coffee industry in general has a high carbon footprint, the fossil fuels used in transport and the high water requirements (140 liters per cup) has quite the toll on the environment. Starbucks has been criticized for its gaps in recycling infrastructure, but overall, especially in comparisons to other mega-corporations, Starbucks has made substantial efforts to set themselves apart. From fair trade commerce, to plans to construct buildings that are LEED certified (green buildings), to offering customer discounts for bringing their own reusable mugs, Starbucks has made good on some of their potential. Because there is so much more potential to live up to, some environmentalists criticize, but because Starbucks has experienced such high growth in the last decade, they are an easy target for criticisms that could be placed on most companies.
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