Alicia Silverstone calls out Starbucks for extra charges: 'Why should we be penalized for making the eco choice?'

Erin Donnelly

Alicia Silverstone is taking a page out of Clueless heroine Cher Horowitz’s playbook and launching a socially aware pet project: making Starbucks more eco-friendly.

The 42-year-old actress and longtime vegan took to Twitter this week to decry her “depressing” experience at the coffee chain. Silverstone says she brought an eco-friendly reusable coffee mug to reduce waste, but was disappointed to see employees — and many of her fellow customers — still using disposable cups for their beverages.

Alicia Silverstone is taking Starbucks to task. (Photo: REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni)
Alicia Silverstone is taking Starbucks to task. (Photo: REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni)

The former teen star added that Starbucks’s policy of charging for non-dairy milk, such as soy or almond, “penalized” customers for “making the eco choice.” She also requested that they start offering unsweetened oat milk, a popular non-dairy milk alternative for vegans.

Starbucks has responded to her concerns by acknowledging its efforts to “be mindful of waste” and encourage baristas to avoid using disposable cups when a customer brings in a reusable alternative. The company insisted that adding “alternative milks” to certain drinks is free, unless it’s a custom order that varies from the original recipe, in which case a “small surcharge” must be paid.

“Starbucks baristas are encouraged to craft beverages directly in customers’ reusable cups whenever possible,” a statement reads. “Building on our long-standing commitment to sustainability and an elevated customer experience, we will take this opportunity to review guidance to our partners about personal cup use as we continue to be mindful of waste.

“Regarding alternative milks, adding a splash of any alternative milk to brewed or iced coffee, cold brew or an Americano is always offered free of charge. The price of our beverages is based on a standard recipe, so any customizations that are not part of the standard recipe, which could include added flavors, alternative milk or an additional shot of espresso, will incur a small surcharge.”

Silverstone’s rant received plenty of support from like-minded fans, who called for the chain to be less “careless” about the environment. But some scolded the star for not going the extra eco-friendly mile by skipping Starbucks entirely in favor of a homemade brew or by supporting a local, indie coffee shop.

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