Julia L F Goldstein

How Are You Changing the World?

When is a green cup not really green?

Nov 04, 2016 by Julia L F Goldstein

Starbucks missed an opportunity. The company recently introduced a limited-edition "green" cup with much fanfare. The cup features a design created by a Seattle-area artist, Shogo Ota. The artist's story is compelling, as is the idea that we are one global people. There is something impressive about a complex design created from a single line of ink that contains images of 132 faces. The overall effect is striking. 

But why didn't Starbucks take advantage of the "green" theme to make this a reusable plastic cup? They could have launched a promotion to encourage people to buy the reusable cups, which would benefit the environment and allow Ota's work to live on.

I can be a bit of an evangelist about Starbucks' reusable cups, to the extent that a colleague recently said I ought to be a spokesperson for the company. 

The reusable cup program makes a lot of sense, for both Starbucks and customers. Cups cost $2, with a ten-cent rebate on drink purchases for customers who bring their own cups. You can, of course, bring in any cup, but the Starbucks branded ones conveniently exactly fit a grande, encouraging customers to order that size drink. They also have lids to keep hot drinks hot.

I've had my own reusable cup, sporting a great design of its own, for over a year. It's also a specialty design, a Zentangle (see elsewhere in this blog for more on Zentangles). It's my go-to travel cup wherever I'm headed. So, listen up, Starbucks. Ota's design on a reusable cup would make the cup doubly green, and it's much more interesting than the plain white plastic cups I saw for sale at the register of my local Starbucks.