Enviro Starbucks’ Watery Controversy
posted by October 6 at 9:23 AMon
As the UK Sun reports:
STARBUCKS was blasted by environmental experts last night after The Sun discovered it pours millions of litres of precious water down the drain at its coffee shops. The giant coffee chain has a policy of keeping a tap running non-stop at all its 10,000 outlets worldwide, wasting 23.4 MILLION litres a day. That would provide enough daily water for the entire two million-strong population of drought-hit Namibia in Africa or fill an Olympic pool every 83 minutes.
Every Starbucks branch has a cold tap behind the counter providing water for a sink called a “dipper well”, used for washing spoons and utensils. Staff are banned from turning the water off under bizarre health and safety rules — bosses claim a constant flow stops germs breeding in the taps.
And as BBC News reports, Starbucks is sticking by its watery practice:
US coffee-shop chain Starbucks has defended itself against claims of a serious waste of water by leaving taps running in its stores all day. A spokeswoman said the purpose was to clean utensils and the policy meant the company met health standards.The company says the flow services a “dipper well”, used for keeping utensils clean, and that the taps run at very low pressure. “Dipper wells use a stream of continuous cold fresh-running water to rinse away food residue, help keep utensils clean and prevent bacterial growth,” the Press Association news agency quoted the spokeswoman as saying. “The dipper well system currently in use in Starbucks retail stores ensures that we meet or exceed our own and local health standards.” She said the company was considering using dishwashers instead of the dipper wells and introducing a more water-efficient way of cleaning spoons.
Starbucks says although it recognises that there are opportunities to reduce its water usage, it does comply with United Nations standards, and it has to balance water conservation with the need for customer safety.
Clearly, if they turn off the water, people will die.
Former and current Starbucks employees: Please share your feelings about/experiences with the death-defying dipper well in the comments. (And Dear Science: What do you make of Starbucks’ allegation that the “constant flow stops germs breeding in the taps”?)