Pacific Swell

Southern California environment news and trends

Starbucks opens drive-through made of recycled shipping containers near Seattle

Stephen Chernin/Getty Images

Shipping containers have long been a hot topic in eco-circles. With more of them collecting dust across America than many realize, finding myriad ways to recycle the hulking shells abound. Given their size, re-imagining these containers as homes and shelters have been especially popular. The SEED Project at Clemson University was inspired to utilize them as emergency housing in case of devastating incidents such as Hurricane Katrina.

Shipping containers have also become popular as quick and easy pop-up businesses (officially known as “cargotecture”), and Starbucks has jumped on the trend by opening a drive-through store from recycled shipping units in Tukwila, WA, not far from Seattle. Constructed from four cargo containers stacked two high, the location does not have any indoor seating.

While this new store was built to LEED standards, it has already generated a fair share of controversy in the sustainable community, with some asking the obvious question: how can a drive-through establishment ever be eco-friendly at all?

Starbucks isn’t the first coffee shop to go down this road; La Boite Café in Austin, TX, opened their second shipping container location last year.

 

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