Blue Bottle CEO Bryan Meehan announced Monday that the coffee chain will be zero waste by the end of 2020, which means that at least 90 percent of the company's waste will be diverted from landfills.
The coffee chain, which was launched in Oakland, California, in 2002, has five locations in the Boston and Cambridge area, including a new Newbury Street outpost that opened on Saturday. Blue Bottle is not new to defend reflective consumption. The company uses compostable cups of sugarcane paper and, earlier this year, introduced paper straws into all of its American coffees.
"We still go through an average of 15,000 disposable cups for single use per coffee per month in the United States alone, which adds up to 12 million cups per year," Meehan said in a statement. "We want to show our guests and the world that we can eliminate disposable cups while serving our delicious coffee."
The first step of Blue Bottle to achieve zero waste will begin as a pilot program in San Francisco. Instead of serving coffee in single-use disposable cups, coffee shops will encourage customers to bring their own cup or borrow cups from stores with a deposit. The pilot program, which will determine how Blue Bottle will proceed throughout the country, also includes the sale of take-away food in bulk reusable containers and whole-grain coffees instead of the single-use bags that you currently use.
In his announcement, Meehan acknowledged that it is an "experiment that may not work, that can cost us money and that can make your life a little more complicated." But it is also in line with Nestlé's recent environmental promises, which acquired a 68 percent stake in Blue Bottle in 2017. Nestlé promised to make 100 percent of its packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025 and become completely carbon neutral for 2050
A timetable for when Blue Bottle locations in Boston will implement the pilot program has not been established. But on December 21, the newly opened Newbury Street location will organize a Community Day, donating all proceeds from its sales to Conservation International, a nonprofit environmental organization and sustainability partner of Blue Bottle.
"Recycling is important, but the focus must be on the other two Rs: reduce and reuse," said Dr. M. Sanjayan, CEO of Conservation International, in Meehan's announcement. “Efforts like the one Blue Bottle is testing are really exciting for me because of how they engage consumers directly with being part of the solution. Yes, we need companies to make big changes, but we also need consumers to change their behavior. "
Local consumers do not have to wait for the pilot program to start changing their behavior. Start bringing your own cup to one of the five Blue Bottle locations in the Boston area; no deposit required:
40 Bow St., Cambridge
88 Ames St., Suite R120, Cambridge
163 Newbury St., Boston
100 Federal St., Suite K200, Boston
800 Boylston St., Suite 25, Boston
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