Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Starbucks Headlines, Week 2

Last week it was all about the logo. The ubiquitous mermaid is getting an overhaul. They're zooming in again - something they've been doing gradually over the company's 40 years. Historically, zooming been a good thing, especially in the 1992 logo change when the close-up cropped out her mermaid parts. And I don't mean her twin tails. See the logo progression here.

This week it's about the Trenta. Yes, Starbucks has joined ranks with 7-11 and every fast food chain to bring you a (nearly) 32-ounce beverage in a Giant Plastic Cup. A shout out to the genius at HuffPo for noting that the capacity of the new 31-ounce Trenta exceeds that of an adult human stomach. Meanwhile, Colt-45 is like, "Welcome to the rodeo."

This brings me to my biggest complaint with Starbucks: recycling. I'm all for massive coffee consumption, but the volume of paper and plastic cups that they've heaped into landfills is unforgivable*. Starbucks empties are like land mines in my littered urban metropolis (disclosure: I live one block away from two different Starbucks). The paper coffee cups are lined with plastic, rendering them unrecyclable while the plastic cups for iced drinks are made from plastic #5 which cannot be recycled either. The website cites two different goals for 2015, one states a plan to serve 25% of beverages in reusable cups, the other aims for 100%.

The Trenta shouldn't be a surprise, and yet it is. Starbucks lost its cache when they automated the grinding and espresso pulling process but there remains something empirically sophisticated about espresso. There is, to be clear, nothing sophisticated about a Big Gulp. There is no such thing as Hobo Chic. What they should have done is honor their 40th anniversary with a recycling campaign where their drinks are served in recycled 40s. Then everybody wins.

* Hello Starbucks-sponsored recycling bins?

Photo courtesy of Starbucks

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