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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A Drop in the Starbucket

Starbucks wastes some 6.2 million gallons of water each day through a health policy that requires a constantly running tap at each store, says a breathless indictment in British tabloid The Sun.

A Starbucks spokesperson confirms the use of a dipper well, which uses "a stream of continuous cold fresh-running water to rinse away food residue, help keep utensils clean, and prevent bacterial growth."

Dipper wells are common at coffee and ice-cream shops, but the gigantuousness of Starbucks' global operations is such that, according to the The Sun, the amount of wasted water could sate the thirst of "the entire 2 million-strong population of drought-hit Namibia ... or fill an Olympic pool every 83 minutes."

Starbucks says it is looking into alternatives, which water-efficiency experts say do exist.

"Leaving taps running all day is a shocking waste of precious water," says Peter Robinson of U.K. green group Waste Watch. "And to claim you are doing it for health and safety reasons is bonkers."

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