Starbucks has decided to start offering needle-disposal boxes in some of its bathrooms, according to USA Today.
A spokesperson for the popular coffee chain told USA Today that the company has decided to begin offering hazardous waste disposal boxes in its bathrooms after reports of "blood and discarded needles and syringes in bathrooms."
The spokesperson added, "These societal issues affect us all, and can sometimes place our partners (employees) in scary situations. Which is why we have protocols and resources in place to ensure our partners are out of harm's way."
Hence the Sharps boxes.
USA Today also reported that over 3,700 franchise workers petitioned the company for such boxes specifically for what the outlet calls "high-risk public bathrooms."
A spokesperson also noted that there are protocols in place for Starbucks employees to learn how to properly deal with encountering hypodermic needles, which drug users typically use to inject opioids.
"I can't emphasize enough that if our partners are ever in a position where they don't feel comfortable completing a task, they are empowered to remove themselves from the situation and alert their manager," the spokesperson explained. "As we always do, we are constantly evaluating our processes and listening to partner feedback of ways we can be better."
In May, Starbucks announced that the company would permit the public to use their bathrooms "100 percent of the time" following criticism of the way a Starbucks franchise handled two black men who asked to use the facilities without making a purchase.
"I think the bathroom policy has definitely changed the store's environment," a Starbucks manager from Southern California told Business Insider. "It's great that Starbucks wants to try and include everyone, but that means that they include absolutely everyone."
Following the company's announcement to open the bathrooms to the public, former NBC anchor and host Megyn Kelly faced significant backlash for remarks opposing the decision.
On her former show, "Megyn Kelly Today" — she said, "Do you really want to deal with a mass of homeless people or whoever is in there — could be drug-addicted, you don't know — when you're there with your kids?"
One former Starbucks employee spoke to Business Insider, and revealed that one of the biggest fears at the franchise was taking out the trash.
"My co-workers and I had all experienced needles left behind in the bathroom, store, and even in our drive-thru," one former employee said.
"My primary fear when I worked there would be taking out the bathroom garbage," the former employee added. "I was terrified that if I went to take the bag out, I would get poked by a needle I didn't know was there."
Another employee at the same franchise added, "While that was on the severe end of trashed, we regularly walk in to tons of wet toilet-seat covers and toilet paper on the floor ... sometimes on the walls."
In October, Business Insider reported that three Starbucks employees in Seattle were exposed to hypodermic needles almost daily, and were forced to take antiviral medications in order to reduce the chances of contracting HIV and hepatitis.
Hypodermic needles aren't even the worst (?) of it.
A Minnesota Starbucks employee told the outlet that in the last 13 years working at the franchise, she's found things like drugs, alcohol, blood, and condoms, in addition to the dangerous needles.