October 7, 2008

Starbucks Accused of Water Wastage

Coffee chain Starbucks has been accused of wasting water at all its 10,000 outlets worldwide. It is learnt that the company has a policy of keeping a tap running non-stop at all it stores thus wasting millions of liters a day.

Every Starbucks store reportedly has a cold tap behind the counter. This provides for water for a sink called a dipper well used for washing spoons and utensils. In line with the company's health and safety rules, employees are not allowed to turn off the taps, revealed a recent report in the UK's Sun newspaper. Justifying this wastage of water, Starbucks maintains that constant flow stops breeding in the taps.

The Press Association has quoted a Starbucks spokesperson 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."

Environmental groups have severely criticized Starbucks for the significant amount of water that the coffee chain wastes on a daily basis. According to media reports, the water wasted by Starbucks everyday is enough to fill an Olympic swimming pool every 83 minutes or sustain the population of drought-hit Namibia.

Barrie Clarke of Water UK said: "I think it is fair to say that Starbucks have a good environmental record, as far as we understand it, and so we are mystified by this story. There must be other ways of ensuring hygiene in a coffee shop other than allowing a tap to run all day long."