Is The Coffee Bean Really Going Green?

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As of May 2007, all U.S. company-owned Coffee Bean locations are Certified Green Restaurants…but what exactly does that mean? Well, it seems that since 2003, The Coffee Bean has been working with the Green Restaurant Association to improve their environmental practices, but after reading what they have done, I cannot figure out how they are considered green, and I think the standards should be changed to actually reflect green practices, not partial little steps. I mean, you don’t get LEED certified just for turning off your stereo in your house, do you? Here is what they say they have done to get “certified”:

Implemented recycling at all stores where possible. This is a good thing, it’s about time.

Changed incandescent light bulbs over to CFL bulbs. Again, a very positive step.

Changed napkins over to 30% post-consumer recycled and non-bleached paper. Why not 100%? If I can buy 100% recycled napkins for my house, why can’t a multi-million dollar corporation do the same?

Changed all paper towels to 82% post-consumer recycled paper. Again, why not 100%? If I can manage it…

Changed all bathroom tissue to 49% post-consumer recycled paper. See above 2 points…

Changed all seat covers to 20% post-consumer recycled paper. Again…

Changed all facial tissues to 10% post-consumer recycled paper. And again…

Installed low flow spray valves that save energy and water. Another step in the right direction, happy about this.

Implemented a 100% reusable mug policy for all team members. This is very cool. But why not implement it for customers that aren’t taking their coffee with them? The people that sit in the store all day should get their coffee in washable ceramic mugs and not paper ones.

Although all these steps are headed in the right direction, one really has to wonder why this is considered enough for green certification. All paper products are available in 100% post-consumer recycled format, as I can buy it all that way for my house. Also, they don’t mention their food or coffee products and how those are sustainable as well. Sure, they use milk free of RSBT hormones, but is it organic milk? What goes into their sandwiches and treats? And their coffee, last time I checked, was not necessarily shade grown, fair trade, or organic. They might have a few versions of these coffees, but until they are all this way, I cannot really accept that they are truly a green company. I know it is very popular to “go green” nowadays, but if you are not going to really do it, please don’t market it as such. It is nice that they are doing something, of course, and that is a step in the right direction for any company. But if you are going to do it and brag about it, it would be great if all the pieces of the puzzle fit together and we could see sustainability and “green-ness” in all aspects of the company. You can read the press release right here for more information.

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Comments

  1. I wanted to let you know that the coffee bean does provide ceramic mugs/glasses, and plates for those who want to sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee or a muffin. It’s hard to urge every customer to use a ceramic dishes.

  2. They might have them there, but they surely do not ever offer them, at least not ever when I have gone in. It would be great it they did; I think more people might actually use them.

    I would be all for making people use them if they were staying near the store (inside or out) which would save a lot of paper cups from being thrown away.

    Thanks Aliison for letting us know..:-)

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