By the end of 2020, Bue Bottle Coffee intends for all of its cafés in the United State to be “zero waste”. According to the Zero Waste International Alliance, meeting this goal means at least 90 per cent of Blue Bottle’s waste is diverted from landfill.
“Single-use packaging is clearly damaging our planet. Plastic water bottles, plastic coffee cups, straws, food packaging, bags — all are bought and thrown away in an endless cycle of thoughtless consumption. Since disposables were introduced in the 1950s, we have grown accustomed to a disposable life, with little thought as to what happens to the materials we use after we throw them in the trash,” Blue Bottle CEO Bryan Meehan says in an open letter.
“At Blue Bottle, we’re not afraid to admit that we’re part of the problem. We recently woke up to the fact that our beautiful bioplastic cups and straws were not being composted even though they were 100 per cent compostable. Too many ended up in landfills, where they couldn’t break down at all. So we switched to paper straws and sugarcane-paper cups. But that’s still not enough. We still go through on average 15,000 disposable single-use cups per cafe per month in the US alone, which adds up to 12 million cups per year. We want to show our guests and the world that we can eliminate disposable cups as we serve our delicious coffee.”
Blue Bottle Coffee will test its first zero-single-use-cup program in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Customers will be able to bring their own reusable cups or can use one of Blue Bottle’s, with a small deposit. These cups can later be returned to the café for cleaning.
The coffee chain will also sell its whole-bean coffees in bulk instead of single-use bags and grab-and-go items in reusable containers.
“This pilot will help guide us on how to implement this program nationwide,” Meehan says. “We make the promise to be zero waste next year with the goal of making further strides in sustainability in the years to come.”
Blue Bottle’s sustainability commitment follows an announcement from parent company Nestlé that it will make all its packaging reusable or recyclable by 2025.
“I’ve been impressed by Nestlé CEO Mark Schneider’s commitment to implement serious environmental change — not least with Nestlé’s recent pledge to become carbon-neutral by 2050,” Meehan says.
“This kind of commitment creates positive change throughout many industries. Our role at Blue Bottle is to inspire Nestlé to do more.”