I am pretty sure that all the independents posting here would cringe reading the article below. Its pretty interesting that apparently this is Corporate policy out of Seattle, I am sure some of the Starbucks barista who are on bx could confirm i this is true or not. Cutting back on this practice might just be a gesture not only towards saving a great deal of water, but also showing some real concern about environmental sustainability :(

Starbucks attacked over water waste
By VICKY CRAN - The Press | Wednesday, 08 October 2008

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DIPPER WELL: The tap left running at a Christchurch Starbucks outlet.

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AdvertisementStarbucks outlets in New Zealand could fill more than 230 Centennial Pools with the amount of clean drinking water they let go down the drain every year.


The coffee company has a small tap under the bench known as the "dipper well" that runs constantly during business hours in each of its 15,700 outlets worldwide.

Calculated from a flow rate of 10 litres of water a minute, an average figure according to the Christchurch City Council's Waterwise website, each of the dipper wells in the 43 New Zealand outlets uses 7200 litres a day. That equates to nearly 113 million litres a year throughout New Zealand.

When approached yesterday, Starbucks said it was "very conscious" of waste and would explore whether to reconsider the practice.

The city council was shocked at drinking water going down the drain when informed by The Press and promised to follow it up. Operations and maintenance manager Mike Bourke said it was a "terrible waste of water".

His staff looked at water-consumption rates around the city and targeted the top 20 per cent of users.

In rare circumstances the council could impose restrictions.

Environment Canterbury councillor David Sutherland was stunned. "Public awareness is growing around how precious our water is, particularly in Christchurch."

He said he could not see consumers supporting the practice once they had been made aware of it.

Starbucks New Zealand general manager Paul Wood said the constant stream of water was needed to get rid of all food residue and was a health and safety procedure issued to all outlets from head office in Seattle.

Cathedral Square Starbucks assistant manager Joel Moore said all staff knew that the tap must not be turned off.

"The milk foam would build up if the utensils sat in the water all day, so the tap has to be left on," he said.

A spokesman at a Christchurch coffee company said: "It's the first time I've heard of it. It is definitely not standard practice in the industry." Staff at his outlets rinsed utensils in an approved food-based rinsing agent, not under a running tap.

Wood said the public exposure of the practice was "a wake-up call". "This has highlighted the opportunity to look at how to reduce our overall water use and to reduce our environmental footprint, particularly in New Zealand," he said.

Flow from the taps in the dipping wells were kept to a minimum and constantly monitored, he said.

The company was constantly re-evaluating procedures.

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In many places in the U.S. a dipperwell is required by the health department. If you keep spoons or ice cream scoops at hand, they must be kept in a dipper well, or used only once and then cleaned. They are a waste of water, but actually when they are set properly they probably use more like one liter of water a minute as opposed to the 10 liters the article mentions. I'm guessing that Starbucks has implemented this as a company-wide health procedure.
Just read an article today that Starbucks and a local coffee chain, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf plus Spinelli decided to stop using their dipper well after the local authorities visited the shops to examine how much water are being drained away through the system.

An article from the internet also showed that Starbucks are also scrambling solutions.

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/business/382648_starbucks10.html?sour...


Is the dipper well all that necessary? Waste not, want not.
Actually in New Zealand it is not a requirement at all to have a dipperwell with running water. The master franchise for Starbucks NZ, NZ Restaurant Brands, also has the franchises for Pizza Hut and KFC. Many, many years ago I worked for this company and was involved in writing the updated COM manual for the KFC side of the business, along with our Aussie counterparts. I distinctly remember working directly with the guys in the USA on re-writting a number of the hygeine requirements which were related to the most strict of State/City ordances. The rewrite took into account local regulation- and ultimatley these regulations saved money for the corporate.

I for sure can understand some of the very, very strict requirements for opperators in the US. We are talking a country where litagation can destroy a company (ie: the requirements around "hot" beverages after a number of law suits by punters who burnt themselves). In NZ these type of legal actions do not exist- the government will pay fair compensation for loss of revenue etc to someone silly enough to seriously injure themselves by spilling coffee on themselves. However class action is not allowed.

To this end most cafes in NZ would follow the Health Standards set there- which is using kitchen utensil sanitiser in a bucket which must be changed a certain number of times per day.

I agree Adrian is probably right with his comment that this is a Global company-wide initiative, but to me it shows the company is not seriously examining the operating environment- which can be as different as the cultural environement- in the countries it is operating in.

Danny said:
Just read an article today that Starbucks and a local coffee chain, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf plus Spinelli decided to stop using their dipper well after the local authorities visited the shops to examine how much water are being drained away through the system.

An article from the internet also showed that Starbucks are also scrambling solutions.

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/business/382648_starbucks10.html?sour...


Is the dipper well all that necessary? Waste not, want not.

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