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The Truckee Times

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The Truckee Times

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The Truckee Times

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Big News, Small Town

The True Cost of a Starbucks Addiction

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We have all enjoyed coffee from time to time from various local coffee shops, but most people at Truckee High School prefer the syrupy deliciousness that Starbucks has to offer. 

Now don’t get me wrong, Starbucks is great and can help you get just the caffeine fix you need to survive the day, but at what real cost does having Starbucks in single-use cups everyday have on our school? The community? The Environment? The World? 

Hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people dip into our reservoir known as Starbucks every single day, meaning that “On an average day, Starbucks sells around 4 million cups of coffee.”(thecommonscafe.com)

Now consider the amount of plastic disposable cups being used every day. That’s 4 MILLION plastic cups being disposed of in various ways such as simply throwing it away, littering, and sometimes recycling. Not to mention the countless plastic straws that are used alongside said drinks. 

This results in millions of pounds of plastics disposed of in landfills, developing countries, and the environment. 

Once a plastic is thrown away, the plastics will slowly break into smaller and smaller pieces, but will never fully biodegrade. 

“Plastic waste can take anywhere from 20 to 500 years to decompose, and even then, it never fully disappears; it just gets smaller and smaller.” (United Nations

Why does it matter whether there is plastic or not on the Earth? Why can’t it just exist coherently with the Environment? 

Well, many animals such as birds, sea creatures, and land mammals mistake plastics for food. Once an organism consumes said plastic, it may not inherently cause issues, but it fuses itself with the organs, and tissues of the organisms, causing the organism that consumes that animal to inherit said plastic along with it. Now that plastic fuses itself to the tissues of that organism, and so forth until it makes it up the food chain eventually to us in most cases. 

By eating contaminated organisms, you ingest those microplastics that most likely will not leave your body until you die. That can lead to organ damage and failure, cancers, and various diseases as microplastics will infiltrate, damage, or kill cells used to keep the body working properly.  

However, microplastics can infiltrate humans through various modes including food, water, and the air we breathe, “The average person eats, drinks, and breathes between 78,000 and 211,000 microplastic particles every year.” (Statista) 

If those gut wrenching facts do not convince you to lay off plastic, here are some more. 

Many countries including the U.S. and most of Europe ship their garbage off to developing countries including Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, and many others they suffer from having to take care of the garbage that is ‘ out of sight out of mind’ for many developed countries creating toxic, CO2 filled gasses to enter the atmosphere, helping to widen the ever-expanding hole in the ozone contributing to global warming, as well as exposing these countries residents to cancerous materials and fumes, as well as leached biohazardous liquids that prove very dangerous to the inhabitants as well as the environment.  

So, if that doesn’t convince you to go plasticless, I don’t know what will. 

A huge solution that would drastically decrease the amounts of single-use cups and straws being contributed to this ever growing problem of plastic overconsumption of reusable cups. 

Reusable Starbucks cups come in a variety of sizes, colors, and designs enhancing your personalized experience and reducing the amount of single use plastics you are attributing to the environmental crisis. 

Starbucks also offers an incentive of 10 cents off of the initial order price for bringing in and using a reusable cup. Sure, they may seem expensive spanning from 15- 30 dollars, but after the many visits you will inevitably have, you will be saving money. 

Overall it is a win-win for both the environment and yourself!

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About the Contributor
Avery Chappell, Editor
Avery is currently a Junior. This is her first year on staff.

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