letter to the editor

To Jonathan Carter, editor-in-chief of Technician,

Coffee is a great thing. It wakes you up and gives you just the right boost that you need for the day. Even better is coffee that you can order before you even leave your house and pick up the second you get there. No problem, right? Unfortunately, there is an aspect of pick-up orders, and even orders in general, that many people forget about or choose to ignore out of convenience.

That thing is plastic. NC State’s famous Talley Student Union is home to a very popular and oftentimes busy Starbucks location. Because of pick-up orders, customers don’t actually need to be physically in the store to order and have their coffee made, meaning the customer can’t use a reusable cup. During a busy spell, when a customer goes to pick up their order, there are usually about 20 other plastic cups waiting to be picked up too. This in itself is an overwhelming sight when trying to find which order is yours, and it’s even more overwhelming when you realize that Starbucks cups are not recyclable. That’s hundreds of drink cups a week that are being tossed into the landfill. It sure is a dilemma: Wait in line with your reusable cup or order ahead of time and contribute to the 60 billion cups that end up in the landfill every year in the U.S. Additionally, customers who aren’t aware that these cups can’t be recycled and try to recycle them end up rendering an entire recycling bin unable to be recycled.

So, what are coffee lovers to do? Thankfully, the Starbucks at Talley Student Union sells reusable drink containers and will give you a discount for using it each time (same with many places on campus!). On top of that, the wait time is often shorter when ordering in person than ordering pick-up. Save your wallet and the planet by using a reusable cup and straw at Starbucks!