Woman walking holding Starbucks tumbler caption 'Starbucks greenwashing: Brought my own tumbler to Starbucks, they made the drink in the normal plastic cup and transferred the coffee into my tumbler, and threw the plastic cup in the trash' (l) Starbucks sign on blue sky background (r)

CHALERMPHON SRISANG/Shutterstock @quigleysmom/TikTok (Licensed)

‘Starbucks greenwashing’: Customer puts Starbucks on blast after barista used a plastic cup to make a drink and poured it into her reusable cup

'They threw the plastic cup in the trash.'


Rebekah Harding


Posted on May 19, 2022   Updated on May 23, 2022, 2:07 pm CDT

A customer is putting Starbucks on blast for “greenwashing” in a now-viral TikTok after a barista used a plastic cup to make a drink, then poured it into the reusable tumbler she had provided.

In the video posted by TikToker @quigleysmom on May 14, she shows off her reusable Starbucks brand tumbler. Text overlay on the clip reads, “Starbucks greenwashing. Brought my own tumbler to Starbucks. They made the drink in the normal plastic cup and transferred the coffee into my tumbler, and threw the plastic cup in the trash.”

@quigleysmom I love you but why @Starbucks ♬ Morning Coffee – Chevy & Nalba

The clip has amassed over 103,000 views as of May 19, with commenters explaining that some drinks have to be made in plastic cups due to measurements and coffee machine sizes.

Greenwashing refers to marketing tactics that push the narrative a company is environmentally friendly, even if the company may not be, and this isn’t the first time the coffee giant has been accused of doing so. For example, Starbucks banned straws a few years back, citing sustainability. And yet, the new lids the coffee giant introduced used more plastic than the old lid and straw combined.

“Girl, what drink did you get?? Some of them NEED to be measured in the cup and can’t be measured in the shaker,” one user wrote.

“That’s simply just because of measurements. We use the lines on the plastic cups to measure each ingredient. We need actual measuring cups,” a Starbucks employee commented.

“Did you get cold brew? Or an iced latte bc a lot of the cups are too big to fit under the machines and so u have to transfer them sadly,” a third added.

Others commented that Starbucks’ COVID policy required that all drinks be made in plastic cups.

“They might’ve had to wash your cup bc of covid and didn’t have time to just have your half made drink somewhere not in a cup,” one user said.

“They used to make them in the cup before covid. if the barista feels uncomfortable touching your cup they have the option to not use it,” another explained.

However, some users agreed with @quigleysmom that Starbucks is greenwashing, and still contributes to a large amount of plastic waste.

“Unfortunately your single cup does not make a dent in the amount of waste that Starbucks produces so yes…greenwashing. We’re shocked?” a commenter wrote.

“Bro we use so much plastic. every single syrup/ sauce comes in a plastic container. Starbucks is legit the worst with greenwashing,” another said.

The Daily Dot reached out to @quigleysmom via TikTok comment and to Starbucks via email.

Today’s top stories

‘Fill her up’: Bartender gives woman a glass of water when the man she’s with orders tequila shot
‘I don’t think my store has even sold one’: Whataburger employees take picture with first customer who bought a burger box
‘It was a template used by anyone in the company’: Travel agent’s ‘condescending’ out-of-office email reply sparks debate
Sign up to receive the Daily Dot’s Internet Insider newsletter for urgent news from the frontline of online.
Share this article
*First Published: May 19, 2022, 5:31 pm CDT