Starbucks Is Revolutionizing What They Do With Food Waste

Over 70 billion pounds of food goes to waste every year--can a huge company like Starbucks do something radical to change that number for good?


Starbucks has decided to change the way they handle their leftovers—by giving them away!

Instead of throwing out ready-to-eat foods, the coffee superstar is going to start giving 100 percent of its leftovers to food banks across the United States.

Partnering with the charity group Food Donation Connection and the non-profit organization Feeding America, Starbucks claims that their contributions will be able to feed more than five million meals for those suffering from hunger.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that 15 million children live in hunger, unable to find nourishing food on a regular basis. In an even more staggering estimate, nearly 50 million people struggle against hunger in the United States.

These numbers, however, only become more depressing when compared to the estimated 70 billion pounds of food that goes to waste every year.


Spicy + spicy with a side of icy. #AnchoChipotleChicken #Sriracha #IcedGreenTea #Panini #Lunch

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Starbucks has been working to put a dent in those numbers since 2010, and has made a considerable effort by donating leftover pastries to food banks.

“The challenge was finding a way to preserve the food quality during delivery,” Jan Maly, brand manager for the Starbucks food team, said in a statement. “We focused on maintaining the temperature, texture and flavor of the surplus food, so when it reached a person in need, they could safely enjoy it.”

John Kelly, senior vice president of Starbucks Global Responsibility, Community and Public Policy then came up with a brilliant idea: with their new program, charities will come and pick up and then redistribute the foods with 24 hours.

“They saw the need for us to do more, and find a way to use our scale to bring more nourishing and ready-to-eat meals to those in need,” Kelly explained.

Plenty of other companies have adopted similar practices, but the programs vary widely based on the products they have. For example, Chipotle may have a harder time transporting and donating their leftovers, while Starbucks’ prepackaged sandwiches will be much easier.

Banner Image Credit: Hao Xing/Flickr

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