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-   -   Singapore Starbucks' taps left running (http://forums.sgclub.com/singapore/singapore_starbucks_taps_99050.html)

Voodoo Vince 8th October 2008 12:22 PM

Singapore Starbucks' taps left running
 
Singapore Starbucks' taps left running
Taps left running all day at coffee chain known for its 'green' philosophy
By Amelia Tan


http://www.straitstimes.com/STI/STIM...-atwater08.jpg
It is Starbucks' policy that taps are left running all day in dipper wells used for washing utensils, like this one at its Thomson Plaza outlet yesterday.

AN INTERNATIONAL coffee chain known for its environmentally friendly position has come under fire for wasting millions of litres of water every day by leaving taps running all the time in its outlets, including those in Singapore.

Coffee chain Starbucks, which has 10,000 cafes worldwide, was roundly criticised by environmentalists when British tabloid The Sun broke a story on Monday about its practice of leaving a tap running behind each service counter.

The constant flow of fresh water runs into a basin known as a dipper well, which is used for washing utensils.

Starbucks Coffee Singapore marketing manager Ruth Yam confirmed that it is the corporation's policy to use a dipper well at all its outlets, including the 57 in Singapore.

She said: 'It keeps utensils clean and prevents bacterial growth, ensuring we meet or exceed our own and local health standards.'

Criticism has been especially scathing because of Starbucks' support of the green movement, with its use of recycled packing materials and encouragement to customers to use tumblers instead of disposable cups.

Mr Peter Robinson, of British environmental charity Waste Watch, told The Sun: 'Leaving taps running all day is a shocking waste of precious water. And to claim you are doing it for health and safety reasons is bonkers.'

A check with other popular coffee chains showed that at least one other, Spinelli Coffee Company, uses the same system. The United States chain runs 33 outlets in Singapore, China and Indonesia.

Spinelli's master coffee roaster Ross Bright said that the constant running water in a dipper well clears away all milk residue and prevents bacterial growth.

He said that staff are instructed to turn the water off when the dipper well is not being used.

British water companies and environmental groups have called the practice 'wasteful' and 'unnecessary' as it reportedly leads to 23.4 million litres of water trickling down the drains every day at Starbucks outlets worldwide.

A spokesman for Singapore's National Environment Agency also noted that running water does not remove micro-organisms adhering to utensils, which should be washed with soap and water instead.

Starbucks' Ms Yam said that the company realises the issue needs 'immediate attention' and is looking for solutions to minimise water use while complying with food safety regulatory requirements.

Foochow Coffee Restaurant and Bar Merchants Association chairman Hong Poh Hin said it is not the practice here to leave taps on.

'If you want to make sure the utensils are cleaned thoroughly, after washing them with soap, you can soak them in a basin filled with water,' he said.

Singapore Environment Council executive director Howard Shaw called the use of the dipper well 'a most unsatisfactory practice'.

He said: 'Taps do not need to be left running all the time to prevent the accumulation of bacteria. Neither is it guaranteed that doing so will purge the bacteria from the pipes.'

Consumers agreed that leaving a tap on was wasteful but were not about to stop patronising Starbucks for that reason.

Public relations consultant Danny Tan, 25, said he had seen taps running at Chinese restaurants and hawker stalls but felt that Starbucks had come under criticism as it is a big corporation which preaches environmentally conscious behaviour.

He said: 'Starbucks is not practising what it preaches. But I choose to get my coffee there because it tastes good and not because it is environmentally friendly.'

http://www.straitstimes.com/Breaking...ry_287209.html

darkkRUII 8th October 2008 12:25 PM

Re: Singapore Starbucks' taps left running
 
They should really start saving water. ^^

neng83 8th October 2008 12:33 PM

Re: Singapore Starbucks' taps left running
 
what kind of theory is these~
let fresh water flow, and the utensil will be cleaner and free from bacterial?

Voodoo Vince 8th October 2008 12:35 PM

Re: Singapore Starbucks' taps left running
 
Can't believe no one checks until this issue was discovered in UK.

Peuan Sanit 8th October 2008 01:04 PM

Re: Singapore Starbucks' taps left running
 
Water is precious. We should save it!

baby_hana 8th October 2008 01:36 PM

Re: Singapore Starbucks' taps left running
 
they should check more!~~~

PinkLady 8th October 2008 02:39 PM

Re: Singapore Starbucks' taps left running
 
wow water is precious leh, y they waste water likedat? pub muz be very happy lor

Shi Yuen 8th October 2008 03:40 PM

Re: Singapore Starbucks' taps left running
 
wah such a waste of water.

Voodoo Vince 8th October 2008 06:53 PM

Re: Singapore Starbucks' taps left running
 
I wonder about Coffee Bean now.

Beanman 8th October 2008 07:15 PM

Re: Singapore Starbucks' taps left running
 
their bills sure muz pay alot

Voodoo Vince 8th October 2008 07:16 PM

Re: Singapore Starbucks' taps left running
 
Not the issue of got money and can pay the bill. Main concern here is wastage of resources.

workingtoohard 8th October 2008 10:01 PM

Re: Singapore Starbucks' taps left running
 
cant they like fill a basin full of water without draining mixed with detergent? saves water... utensils get cleaned... :frown: unless they dont want detergent if they reusing immediately.. then basin of hot water la.. can still last a while and bacteria growth cant survive.. and can easily wear rubber gloves to pull utensils out...

mike_81 8th October 2008 10:13 PM

Re: Singapore Starbucks' taps left running
 
THEY have to walk the talk .....:qmarkcool:

Miss QQ 9th October 2008 09:14 AM

2 coffee chains inspected
 
2 coffee chains inspected
http://www.straitstimes.com/Breaking...ry_287578.html
Quote:

2 coffee chains inspected

Starbucks, Spinelli plan to continue system till alternative is found

By Amelia Tan


http://www.straitstimes.com/STI/STIM...-atwater09.jpg
-- ST PHOTO: SAMUEL HE

http://www.straitstimes.com/STI/STIM..._ATWATER09.jpg
DIPPER WELL CONTROVERSY: 'We choose to use basin wells because there is a constant supply of fresh water. How would customers feel if they see utensils soaked in milky water in our stores?' -- Spinelli's chief operating officer Freddy Ong, defending the use of dipper wells -- ST PHOTO: SAMUEL HE

OFFICERS from the national water agency PUB yesterday inspected several outlets of two coffee chains - Starbucks and Spinelli - that use a controversial system of using continuously running water to clean utensils.

Officers asked staff about the cleaning technique, which came under fire from environmentalists around the world earlier this week for wasting water. Starbucks, in particular, was heavily criticised for employing it, despite projecting itself as a green company.

During yesterday's visits, at least one Spinelli outlet was warned by PUB officers that it risked being fined if staff kept using the system.

When contacted, Starbucks Singapore marketing manager Ruth Yam said a PUB officer informed her of the checks at the stores and asked why the basin well system was used. She said the officer did not mention that the stores could be fined in their phone conversation. The PUB also declined to comment on the inspections.

The checks came on the same day The Straits Times reported that Starbucks and Spinelli used a so-called dipper well. The set-up sees utensils bathed in a constant supply of fresh water.

According to one estimate, reported in the British newspaper The Sun, the practice wastes over 23 million litres of water daily at Starbucks locations worldwide.

Starbucks has 57 stores in Singapore and Spinelli has 28. The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, which has 45 stores in Singapore and 692 stores worldwide, confirmed yesterday that it also uses the dipper well.

Both Starbucks and Spinelli said they will continue to use the system until they can find an alternative, adding that it is the most hygienic way to clean off milk residue.

'We choose to use basin wells because there is a constant supply of fresh water,' said Spinelli chief operating officer Freddy Ong.

'How would customers feel if they see utensils soaked in milky water in our stores?'

Under the Public Utilities Act, a person can be fined up to $50,000 and jailed up to three years for wasting water. The law, however, does not specify the definition of 'waste'. For second offences and beyond, fines can hit $1,000 per day.

Ms Yam said the company has tried other ways of cleaning utensils - including sticking them in ice-filled containers - but the trials proved unsuccessful.

But Australian coffee chain Gloria Jean's uses ice baths to clean utensils in its nearly 900 stores worldwide, including seven in Singapore. The cold of the ice prevents bacteria from breeding.

Gloria Jean's Singapore managing director James Donald said the company's lone outlet using a dipping well shelved the system this month because it uses too much water.

'The dipping well system does save some time...but it uses too much water,' he said.

MoMo_18 9th October 2008 09:19 AM

Re: Singapore Starbucks' taps left running
 
Water very important !! Don't WASTE my water =X :angry_002:

DestinyAthrun 9th October 2008 09:25 AM

Re: Singapore Starbucks' taps left running
 
man thats a lot of water

Voodoo Vince 9th October 2008 03:43 PM

Re: 2 coffee chains inspected
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Miss QQ (Post 1491943)
2 coffee chains inspected

Starbucks, Spinelli plan to continue system till alternative is found

So that means not just Starbucks is doing this practise too.

I really wonder about other coffee joints now.

How much water is being wasted by this practise.

Voodoo Vince 11th October 2008 02:14 PM

Taps turned off
 
Taps turned off
All 85 outlets of the two chains here abandon water-wasting dipper-well system for cleaning utensils
By Amelia Tan


http://www.straitstimes.com/STI/STIM...tarbuck-dl.jpg
-- ST PHOTO: DESMOND LIM

ALL Starbucks and Spinelli coffee shops in Singapore have stopped using a controversial method of cleaning spoons that has drawn fire from environmentalists around the world.

The chains, which have a combined 85 outlets here, made the decision days after government water inspectors visited several outlets to examine their much maligned dipper-well system.

In this method, utensils are bathed in a continuous flow of tap water. The practice has been called 'wasteful' by environmentalists, and one estimate says it squanders 23 million litres of water a day in Starbucks locations world-wide.

Singapore's 57 Starbucks locations axed the dipper-well system on Thursday evening, while Spinelli's 28 outlets followed suit yesterday morning.

Staff at one Spinelli outlet said earlier this week that they were warned by officers from the national water agency PUB that they risked being fined if they continued using the system. Penalties for wasting water can go up to $50,000 for a first offence.

Singapore and Britain are the first countries with Starbucks stores to see the dipper wells discontinued.

Starbucks said baristas will now clean spoons in a dishwasher, while Spinelli said it plans to rinse the utensils under hot water and plunk them in a container.

Singapore Environment Council executive director Howard Shaw applauded the moves.

'I believe it was an oversight of the corporations. They probably didn't realise that they were wasting huge amounts of water. This case shows that public attention can lead to change.'

The controversy follows a report in the British tabloid The Sun - called the 'The great drain robbery' - that said Starbucks wastes enough water to fill an Olympic-size pool every 83 minutes.

The revelations have proven to be a public relations problem for the world's largest coffee chain, which has billed itself as environmentally sensitive.

The company maintains that a continuous flow of water is the most hygienic way to clean milk residue off spoons.

'The challenge lies in balancing customer safety and water conservation,' said Starbucks Coffee Singapore managing director Jeff Miller. 'We recognise that water usage is a topic of public concern and we have been working on alternatives to the dipper-well system since last year,' he said.

Mr Miller said he met all 57 Starbucks managers here on Wednesday to discuss cleaning the spoons in a dishwasher, a process that is less efficient than than the dipper-well system.

The company has ordered 2,200 new stainless steel spoons - along with 180 plastic collection containers - to make sure there are enough clean utensils to go around.

Spinelli spokesman Ross Bright said unlike Starbucks, the chain's stores switched off dipper wells during off-peak hours. But public outcry has convinced the company to shelve the system.

'Public perception is important to us. (The wells) have drawn so much attention recently as a source of water wastage.'

Spoons will now be rinsed under hot water and bathed in cups before being used again. Baristas will change the hot water in the cups once it is cloudy.

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and Swensen's, which use the dipper-well method, did not reply to e-mail seeking comment.

http://www.straitstimes.com/Breaking...ry_288502.html

Miss QQ 14th October 2008 09:13 AM

Re: Taps turned off
 
Good... Hope someone checks on other restaurants too...

Beanman 14th October 2008 01:29 PM

Re: Singapore Starbucks' taps left running
 
good.they shldn't waste water.


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