Starbucks Move to Install Needle Disposal Boxes in Bathrooms


Sophia Donis, Opinions Editor

Starbucks employees have won the battle of pushing to get needle disposal boxes installed in bathrooms after numerous incidents of being pricked by uncapped needles. While this change is not for every location within the United States, there are a multitude of locations in Washington that are going to install disposal boxes due to a health and safety concern for the employees. Employees have found needles laying on the floor, sink and poking through garbage bags during clean up of the restroom. Being pricked by a used, uncapped needle can leave employees at risk to HIV and Hepatitis and after over 3,700 signatures were acquired on a petition, the company knew it was time to make a change. In addition to sharp object containers, locations will be utilizing heavier duty trash bags, or removing garbage cans altogether.

Starbucks does train all employees on hypodermic needle safety in the event of encountering one, but that precaution has been ruled insufficient in keeping everyone safe. It is known that if employees had further concern up until this point, they were able to alert a manager and be taken off trash duty, but many employees have voiced that during a fast paced work environment, policies are often neglected. A portion of the problem was that in May of 2018, Starbucks announced that location bathrooms were open to everyone, and not just paying customers. In turn, this began exposing the bathrooms to literally everyone, including those who are abusing drugs and not sitting down for a coffee. A number of store managers as well have found drugs, needles and blood in bathrooms and have been forced to close bathrooms and even leave paying customers without bathroom access. Although unrestricted public bathrooms are not the sole cause of the needle incidents, it still plays a factor and as a company, Starbucks is making big moves to continually insure the safety of its employees.