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Bring In Your Tumbler and Get Free Coffee at Starbucks

On April 15, bring a reusable travel mug into your local Starbucks and get a free brewed coffee.

When you hear the date April 15 what comes to mind? Taxes, taxes and more taxes. Well, how about a free cup of coffee? Sounds too good to be true. There must be a catch, right? What if I told you the “catch” was actually good for the environment? Yes, it’s true. Starbucks Coffee Company will give you a free brewed coffee if you bring in a reusable tumbler or travel mug on Tax Day, April 15.

Starbucks has an important environmental goal to reach – 100% of its cups will be recyclable or reusable by 2015. But the coffee giant knew it couldn’t go it alone so Starbucks asked its loyal customers to join in the global movement, “One person can save trees, together we can save forests.” It’s a win-win-win situation… good for your pocketbook, good for Starbucks, and good for the planet.

Starbucks discovered that only about 1% of its customers use travel mugs. Obviously, there is a lot of room for improvement. So on March 17 and 18 in New York City, Starbucks invited thousands of people to exchange their disposable, paper cups for reusable tumblers and created a Sequoia mural symbolizing the collective impact individuals can make. Also, during the March event, 5,000 individuals pledged to continue using tumblers.

Now, here’s your chance to swap your paper cup for a travel mug. You can visit Starbucks The Big Picture and use the Impact Calculator, powered by the Environmental Defense Fund, to see how many trees can be saved through your tumbler use. You can also make the pledge to use tumblers every day and even encourage your friends to do so on Facebook. After April 15, Starbucks will give you a 10-cent discount so bring in your coffee tumbler, save 10 cents and a paper cup every time.

In its latest fiscal 2009 Global Responsibility Report, the specialty coffee company announced that more than 26 million beverages were served in reusable cups at Starbucks stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. According to Starbucks, “this simple shift in behavior kept approximately 1.2 million pounds of paper from ending up in landfills.”

But it doesn’t stop there. As the world’s largest coffee shop chain, Starbucks recognized the waste it was creating with its 2.7 billion paper coffee cups every year. So the specialty coffee company decided to sponsor the Betacup Challenge. The purpose of the Challenge is to create a fully recyclable paper coffee cup. It will be an industry first.

Okay… so maybe you’re not a Starbucks fan. You can still use a tumbler when you visit your favorite coffee shop. The real question is how can we change our on-the-go, consumer behavior? Hopefully, we’ll find the answer soon.

Follow Cindy Tickle on Twitter @ethicalbiz
Image Credit: Starbucks Coffee Company

Written by Cindy Hoots

With more than 10 years experience working for a major Fortune 500 company, Cindy specializes in socially and environmentally responsible business strategies. She has developed successful corporate communications and stakeholder engagement strategies on contentious sustainability issues and has worked with a number of NGOs and activist organizations on how to effectively partner with multinational companies. Cindy frequently writes about topics ranging from what is corporate social responsibility to sustainable supply chain and measuring a company's environmental impact. She believes business plays a vital role in the health of our communities and our planet.

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