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Starbucks Wasting More Than 6 Million Gallons of
Water a Day
American coffee giant Starbucks became the target
of conservationists today after an investigation by the U.K. newspaper
The Sun estimated that the company wasted up to 6 million gallons
of water every day, enough to quell the thirst of a small African
As part of a company policy aimed at preventing germ buildup in its
taps, Starbucks stores are directed to keep water running constantly
into a sink, called a dipper well, to clean utensils and wash away
food residue, The Sun reported.
a result of running water all day, every day at each of the company's
10,000 worldwide coffee emporiums, Starbucks wastes
water in an amount The Sun estimated to be "enough daily water
for the entire 2 million strong population of drought-hit Namibia
Africa or fill an Olympic pool every 83 minutes."
The investigation was launched after a couple who spotted a running
tap at a U.K. Starbucks were told by a store employee that it was
left on to clean the pipes. They contacted Starbucks head office
to find out more and later received a letter confirming that it
was company policy to keep water constantly running into the dipper
The Sun investigation spanned several Starbucks locations in the
United Kingdom, including stores in London, Manchester and Birmingham,
as well as in New York, Los Angeles, Beijing and Sydney. The practice
of leaving taps on during operating hours was consistent in every
location; The Sun reported that staff members were banned from turning
the water off.
a statement to ABC News, the company confirmed that "the
dipper well system currently in use in Starbucks retail stores
ensures that we meet or exceed our own and local health standards."
"Starbucks' challenge is to balance water conservation with
the need for customer safety," the statement said.
So does leaving the water on actually make germ buildup less likely?
"They don't need to keep the tap on all the time. … A
couple of minutes of running water should [clean the tap]," Jacob
Tompkins of Waterwise, a nonprofit organization that focuses on
decreasing U.K. water consumption, told ABCNews.com. "You
don't keep the water running at home."
The water wastage seems an anomaly for a company
that prides itself on its environmental record. In its mission
on the company's Web site, Starbucks claims that it has a commitment
to "understand environmental issues, to strive to buy, sell
and use environmentally-friendly products, and to instill environmental
responsibility as a corporate value."
ABC - London News
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