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Starbucks seeks eco-friendly growth

Starbucks Korea is on its way to recycle 100 percent of its stores’ used coffee grounds by 2018, furthering its efforts to contribute to environmental conservation, the company said Tuesday.  

The company has launched an environmentally conscious campaign to make and donate compost from used coffee grounds to help local farms and communities. This year, the campaign will collect 3,500 tons of used coffee grounds from Starbucks stores here. 

Starbucks employees and volunteers pose at Seoul Forest with donated compost made from used coffee grounds on Nov. 9. (Starbucks)
Starbucks employees and volunteers pose at Seoul Forest with donated compost made from used coffee grounds on Nov. 9. (Starbucks)

According to the company, 1,700 of the 3,500 tons will be recycled into compost for donations, 700 tons will be available for customers visiting Starbucks stores, 950 tons will be used for pellets and animal feed, and 150 tons will be donated to various eco-friendly events.

This March, Starbucks donated 15,000 bags of compost to farmers in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province, through a local farmers’ cooperative -- enough to cover 150 farms in the area. Through this donation, Starbucks is contributing to producing high-quality rice and agricultural produce that is then used to create products for Starbucks customers.

Since 2010, Starbucks has also been working regularly with Seoul Forest to provide coffee grounds compost to the park and help maintain it. On Nov. 9, over 200 Starbucks employees, college students, and nongovernmental organization volunteers gathered to spread 4 tons of compost in the park in preparation for winter.

Since 2013, Starbucks has also taken part in various campaigns in partnership with the Seoul Metropolitan Government to raise awareness about environmental conservation. The company’s activities have included giving out flowers planted in used paper cups filled with coffee grounds compost. 

This October, Starbucks began a new partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and the Korea Tea Association in step with the launching of its new tea brand Teavana. Through the agreement, Starbucks will donate 320 tons of organic coffee grounds compost through the Korea Zero Waste Movement Network and work to help increase domestic tea consumption.

Through these efforts, Starbucks said it will continue to pursue sustainable, eco-friendly growth with the Korean community. 

By Won Ho-jung (
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Korea Herald daum