Message sent to businesses as Starbucks fined £160k for leaving waste on street
The fines were handed out at Westminster Magistrates Court on Wednesday after the coffee giant pleaded guilty to four waste offences.
The court heard that since April 2015, both of the stores on Westminster’s Berkeley Street and the Starbucks head office had ignored regular warnings from Westminster City Council about putting rubbish bags on the streets outside of normal collection times.
There are two regular daily collections in Berkeley Street at 7am and 6pm, but the council said that bags continued to be left on the street for hours, cluttering the pavement and resulting in rubbish spilling out onto the walkway.
Businesses are expected to put rubbish out no more than 30 minutes prior to the collection time and the council states that waste should stay on the street for no more than two hours. However, rubbish was seen dumped on the streets just after midday on a number of occasions and waste bags were observed spilling and leaking onto the public highway.
Since 2011, 11 fixed penalty notices of £80 were served to the stores, of which only seven were paid.
Cllr Nickie Aiken, Westminster City Council cabinet member for licensing and public protection, said: “Starbucks have shown a complete disregard for local residents and visitors to this historic part of Westminster.
“On a regular basis Starbucks dumped their rubbish straight onto the pavement rather than following very simple collection schedules.”
Aiken added: “This sentence proves that every business has a responsibility to keep our streets clean and tidy, regardless of the size of the company”.
History of non-compliance
Speaking during the hearing, District Judge Coleman said that Starbucks had acted in a “deliberate” manner, ignoring complaints from residents’ associations and numerous warnings from the council. She did not accept Starbuck’s suggestion that the retailer’s head office hadn’t been aware at the appropriate times due to internal procedures and noted that Westminster City Council had written to Starbucks head office on a number of occasions to raise the issue.
Coleman added that there was a “history of non-compliance” from Starbucks and noted the “prestigious” location and impact on the “local amenity”.
Cllr Melvyn Caplan, Westminster City Council cabinet member for city management, added: “Keeping Westminster’s streets clean is a busy job which requires a huge amount of effort from council workers, residents and businesses.
“Hundreds of thousands of people from all around the world visit Westminster every day. A lot of them are likely to stop and enjoy a coffee, but not many of them want to pick their way through piles of rubbish.”