26 July 2018

Joint Letter to Starbucks

Joint Letter to Starbucks

Inviting CEO to witness waste treatment in Asia

As members of the Break Free From Plastic global movement, VOICE and the Conscious Cup Campaign have singed this open letter inviting the CEO of Starbucks, Kevin Thompson, to visit communities in South East Asia who have to deal with all of our waste so he can really understand where our single use plastics end up.

Starbuck's recently announced plans to replace single use plastics with 'recyclable' alternatives. Although these plastics may be recyclable, the chances of them actually being recycled are slim. Since China ceased taking the world's waste, Europe and North America are in crisis. We do not have the capacity to deal with the volume of plastic waste we are producing. Waste Companies are now turning to South East Asia to take our waste, but without the proper infrastructure it's not certain the materials are being recycled.

“Recycling alone is not going to solve the plastic pollution crisis,” said Greenpeace Plastics Campaigner Kate Melges. “In fact, relying on a recycling system that is failing in the U.S. and facing bans overseas will make the problem worse. To date, only 9% of all plastic ever created has been recycled. It is time for companies to move beyond flashy PR moves and start significantly reducing their production of plastic and investing in reuse alternatives.”

To tackle this problem we need to move to a more circular economy, where we recycle our waste locally and use these recycled materials again in new products. We also need a return to reuse and repair over disposal of single use items. Our planet has finite resources and simply cannot keep up with our throw-away lifestyle. 

“The type of plastic pollution we’re seeing in Southeast Asia are produced by global corporations headquartered in North America and Europe,” said Break Free From Plastic’s Global Coordinator Von Hernandez. “While these are the countries that are being blamed for plastic pollution, the ones that are really pushing production are companies located in the global north. They need to bear the responsibility for this waste.”

You can read the letter in full here on the Break Free From Plastic website.