In a video posted to TikTok on 14 February, @garayua21 could be seen holding an empty Starbucks cup and walking towards the trash while explaining that he was deciding whether to throw the cup in the recycling or trash bin.
“Oh boy, I can’t wait to help the environment,” he said, as he put the cup in the recycling section. “Yeah, help the environment.”
However, he then opened the garbage can to reveal that there was only one bin inside, suggesting that the trash and recycling go into the same bag.
“Cleaning the earth one step at a time,” the TikTok user joked in the text over the video.
In the caption, the TikToker tagged Subway’s TikTok account, asking for an explanation.
The video has more than 9.7m views so far, with viewers in the comments expressing their sadness over the realisation that the restaurant was likely not separating its trash from its recycling.
“Says a lot [about] society, I think,” one person wrote, while another asked: “Why is this kinda metaphorical…”
Someone else wrote: “I learned this at my job and it was so upsetting.”
Many other viewers who said that they worked in the food services business chimed in and claimed that a combined trash and recycling bin happen quite frequently.
“The McDonald’s I worked at had three separate waste streams but they got compacted in with the same garbage,” one person wrote, while someone else said: “Hi. My Starbucks is the same way, there’s two separate bags but they both go in the trash.”
The Independent has reached out to @garayua21 and Subway for comment.