Tag Archives: starbucks

Zero Waste: coffee grinds for your garden

The key to being zero waste is finding all the little ways to avoid throwing things out. And sometimes that means taking things in too. Which is exactly what I do with coffee grinds. The little bit I create at home gets added to the garden, but it’s never enough. Every month I make a run to Starbucks for a commercial-size bag of coffee grinds. And that allows me to skip buying fertilizer at the store.

The science behind coffee grinds in the garden is pretty simple. It’s a rich source of nitrogen and minor amounts of other soil nutrients – phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and copper. The same items you will find in a bag of fertilizer at the store. But do be careful when adding coffee grinds to plants, as it might interfere with growth. It is best to place in the soil – tilling 6-8 inches deep – before or after planting.

And that’s perfect for me. I can avoid throwing away coffee grinds, avoid buying fertilizer at the store, and take in trash from other places. The local coffee shops throw away their grinds unless someone asks for them. And the baristas love handing them over because it means they don’t have to take out the trash.

It’s just one part of zero waste but it shows how easy it can be. Not to mention money saving – no more fertilizer – and helpful for the community. Can you believe I’m reducing the trash that Starbucks creates?


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The iPhone as your wallet – Apple creates Passbook for iOS 6 – check-in to flights, buy a Starbucks coffee

The best way to learn about Passbook is to see it in action, the video below auto-starts at 1:32:55 (except on mobile devices):


In my personal quest to shrink my wallet, maybe even get rid of it, I love this feature. No more loyalty cards and gift cards, just my phone.

More on this new app from Apple:


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Starbucks turns to venture capital, invests big in game-changer Square

I’ve been a big fan of Square from the beginning, mostly because I hate the cashier’s line. I even gave a talk at Ignite DC called, “The Future of the Queue”, though I spent all my time bashing the very old, and expensive technology that cashier’s use:



Lol, $300+ dollars just to read a credit card! Did you know that Square gives away this technology for free?

I repeat “gives it away for free.” It’s no wonder that the company is rumored to be valued at $3.2 billion.

How do they make their money, through fees, of course. From Square:


Transparent Pricing

  • 2.75% per swipe.
  • Free app, free Square Card Reader and free shipping.
  • No merchant account, monthly fees or set-up costs.

Next-Day Deposits

  • Payments in your bank account the next business day
  • Payments automatically sent for deposit to your bank with email confirmations.
  • No limit to the number or amount of payments you can take.


I’ve done some small business transactions and I know that these fees are big business. If you think about skimming off nearly 3% from every credit transaction we are talking about billions of dollars. In 2006, a study found that we spend nearly $1 trillion on credit each year (pdf).

That may explain why Starbucks, a coffee company, is playing venture capital by investing in Square. Though, many are speculating that the reason is to improve the “Starbucks experience” which I guess means giving baristas iPads and smartphones like the Apple Genius have.

It’s possible, but I’m very skeptical, it’s more likely that Starbucks is looking to cut back-end costs associated with credit transactions and that is something Square does very well. A few pennies per transaction is a lot of money for the big corporation.

Not to mention that Starbucks already has a strong mobile payment solution that “about 1 million people a week are using” out of 60 million transactions a week. 

It’s definitely an interesting story and one that spells big changes for the payments industry. Some good articles on this topic:



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Starbucks to improve its baked goods – purchases artisan bakery, La Boulange

Starbucks got the coffee right. Now, it is trying to do the same with the food.

The world’s largest coffee chain announced on Monday plans to acquire for $100 million a small artisan bakery chain, Bay Bread and its 19-unit La Boulange bakery brand.

The move comes just months after Starbucks (SBUX) purchased the tiny Evolution Fresh juice brand and at a time Starbucks is pushing hard to expand beyond coffee and vastly improve its baked goods and other food offerings. Food is one of the chains fastest-growing businesses, now accounting for $1.5 billion in revenues even as its sales have grown by double digits over the past two years.

“After more than 40 years, we will be able to say that we are bakers, too,” says Howard Schultz, CEO at Starbucks.

via USA Today


The bakery chain, La Boulange, reminds me a lot of Le Pain Quotidien.

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