This semester, Highland Java began to contribute to decreasing their carbon footprint by reducing plastic. Highland Java’s decision to switch from plastic straws to paper straws has been met with positive student responses on campus.
The idea of making the change occurred at the end of the previous semester and were put in place this semester.
Carolyn Clark, President of Entrepreneurs in Action, made the decision to change the business to fit a more environmentally friendly model for businesses in the community. Instead of using nonbiodegradable plastic cups and straws, their business model utilizes biodegradable cups and paper straws.
“The environment is something that we should all take care of. I want the community to view the change as a positive, so they can do their part to help the environment. Their actions make a lasting impact,” said Carolyn Clark (19’).
Highland Java is a student run business on campus. Students employed at Highland Java are a part of a class called Entrepreneurs in Action, where students can have a hands-on learning experience at running a business.
The importance of maintaining the environment and teaching others to follow suit will have lasting effects on the planet.
“I believe it’s important for students to learn long-term environmental impacts in the business world,” said Clark.
Clark said that being from the Mid-West, we don’t always get to see the negative effects of plastic that litters the ocean. As part of Highland Java’s initiative to reduce waste in the oceans, The Awkward Turtle Campaign was promoted on social media.
“It was our way of making a difference to prevent plastic fromdisturbing wildlife,” said Clark. “Save The Awkward Turtle Campaign helped us get rid of plastic cups and straws. Instead of using plastic straws, we now use paper and we eliminated the need for cup sleeves,” said Santiago Ribadeneira (‘21), a worker at Highland Java.
Highland Java offers 100% compostable cups and paper straws that are approved by an environmental company.
Jaden House, CEO of Highland Java, explained the financial process that brought new disposable cups and straws into the business. “The price of selling a cup of coffee is the same as before the change. Getting rid of the sleeves helped reduce the price of producing coffee. The old paper and plastic cups and straws were donated to an environmental group on campus,” said Jadon House (20’).
Highland Java has also introduced the refillable Yeti mug and the approval for the customer to fill any reusable mug. “The reduction of plastic and paper waste has had many positive responses on campus. The weekly revenue is the highest it’s ever been in the past four years,” said Jaden.
House said that the President of Highland Java is very passionate about environmental activism. Highland Java is constantly looking to improve their business model and looks to the future to implement new ways to reduce waste.
Highland Java wants to continue to make business changes that help the environment. “Another good future idea is composting coffee grounds – instead of throwing grounds to waste,” said Clark.
Clark said that Highland Java is working step-by-step to improve their business model. Small changes make the biggest differences in the long-run. “It is our responsibility to reduce waste for the future.”