WILLIAMSBURG — Throwing away stray Starbucks cups can now get you a discount on your coffee — but not from the green-hued mega-chain.
The West, a coffee shop and bar at 379 Union Ave., is located just down the street from Williamsburg's first Starbucks and frequently sees trash from the neighborhood store strewn on the street, said owner Esther Bell.
In response, Bell is now running a special at The West in hopes of curbing the issue: Bring in a photo of yourself throwing out Starbucks litter, and she'll give you a 50 cent discount on your coffee.
"The amount of garbage from Starbucks that ends up in front of our café is so upsetting," said Bell, who noted that cups can be seen rolling down the sidewalk or propped against her shop's door. "We’re constantly throwing their garbage away."
Bell is known for spearheading a petition against the second Williamsburg Starbucks' effort to get a liquor license, saying that the chain's beer and wine offerings threatens the viability of local small businesses like hers.
The petition — which garnered some 4,000 signatures — ultimately failed, and the Starbucks at 154 North Seventh St. plans to start serving beer and wine Wednesday.
Bell's discount is a way to turn any "disgruntled" feelings about the chain into a productive campaign for the neighborhood, she said.
People simply need to show selfies of themselves throwing away stray cups from the street to get the discount, whether or not the photo is posted to social media, she said.
The photo can be from anywhere in the city, but the hope is that local Starbucks trash will end up in garbage cans instead of on the street.
"Starbucks is just prominent," Bell explained. "It seems to be the garbage that tends to get out. I don't know what the deal is. People don't throw away their Starbucks cups."