There are a lot of corporate giants out there that people love to hate — Wal-Mart, McDonald’s, Starbucks — and it’s for good reason. These big chains flood the market with their product and make it nearly impossible for small retailers to compete.

But recently I’ve decided Starbucks really isn’t that bad. See, the thing about Starbucks is that even though they’ve taken over the coffee market just about everywhere, they at least try to be responsible about the environmental consequences of that. Unlike McDonald’s, which had to face a great deal of protesting before getting rid of styrofoam (which they still use outside of the U.S.), Starbucks uses recycled cups and encourages their customers to be earth-friendly. The other day when I was in there I saw a new FREE product of theirs: “grounds for your garden.” They were giving away their used coffee grounds for people to use in composting or as soil, rather than just dumping them in the garbage out back.

I realize this is probably because they have more environmentally conscious customers than some of the other corporate giants. Perhaps environmentalists are just finally getting through to people. Maybe I’m just making excuses for my chai latte habit because I hear Wal-Mart is going to start carrying green products too. And they have provided bag recycling for some time but I don’t plan to start shopping there anytime soon…