Business & Lobbying

Starbucks eyes 2025 transition to reusable cups

the starbucks name and logo above a airport coffee shop

Starbucks is considering implementing widespread programs to promote the use of reusable cups by 2025 in an effort to cut down on waste.

“Our cup is ubiquitous, and we love that,” Starbucks Chief Sustainability Officer Michael Kobori said, according to CNN. “But it is also this ubiquitous symbol of a throwaway society.”

The coffee retailer’s iconic cups routinely end up in landfills or as litter in waterways and on sidewalks, the news outlet noted.

Kobori said that the best way to end the cycle would be “eliminating the disposable cup,” per CNN, referring to that course of action as “the holy grail.”

That goal would see every customer able to borrow a ceramic or reusable to-go mug from their local Starbucks or to use their own mug by 2025, CNN reported.

Starbucks last year began testing a borrow-a-cup program, which would allow customers to pay for a nondisposable cup that they could then return after use, according to CNN.

The company first rolled out the program in a beta test at select Seattle locations last year and has since launched similar pilot programs in Japan, Singapore and the United Kingdom, per the outlet.

“We developed a new cup that had a very low environmental footprint, was lightweight polypropylene, ultimately recyclable and could replace 100 single-use disposable cups,” Starbucks Vice President of Product Experience Amelia Landers, whose team is responsible for sustainable packaging at the company, told CNN of the Seattle test.
 
Starbucks has also brought back the option for customers to bring in their own personal mugs, an option that was temporarily halted at the beginning of the pandemic, according to CNN. The company is planning to allow customers to use that option at any Starbucks in the U.S. or Canada by the end of next year.
 
Starbucks is looking for ways to promote customers’ use of personal mugs, per the outlet.
 
“We’re testing an incentive on the personal cup to go up from where it is today — from 10 cents to 50 cents,” Landers said. “We are also going to be testing a disposable cup fee.”
 
Landers also noted that Starbucks is testing a potential discount for people who use nondisposable ceramic mugs provided by the company in stores, CNN reported.
Tags Starbucks Sustainability
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