Starbucks to stop using disposable cups in South Korea by 2025

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Starbucks on Monday unveiled plans to eliminate disposable cups from its South Korea locations by 2025 as part of its long-term efforts to transition to reusable packaging and more sustainable business practices. 

The coffeehouse chain said in a press release that in addition to discontinuing single-use cups, Starbucks Coffee Korea also hopes by 2025 to reduce its carbon footprint by 30 percent and increase employment opportunities by 30 percent. 

Sara Trilling, president at Starbucks Asia Pacific, said in a statement along with the press release, “Since announcing our global aspiration to become resource positive, we continue to explore new ways to reduce our environmental impact across the Asia Pacific region.” 

“Starbucks Coffee Korea is a leader in sustainability for the company globally, and we are excited to leverage the learnings from this initiative to drive meaningful change in our stores and inform future innovation on a regional and global scale,” Trilling added. 

Starbucks Coffee Korea CEO David Song said that the goals are “ambitious” because the company believes “it is our responsibility to explore innovative ways to bring our communities and business partners together around this shared desire to make a positive impact for the planet.”

The plans were followed with an announcement Tuesday that five Seattle stores are piloting a Borrow A Cup program from March 30 to May 31 in which customers can receive a reusable cup for their beverage and return it to a participating store or through a Seattle-area service called Ridwell in which recyclable items are picked up at a person’s front door. 

In January of last year, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson announced the corporation’s goal of becoming a “resource-positive company” by “storing more carbon than we emit, eliminating waste, and providing more clean freshwater than we use.” 

Starbucks formalized these plans in December at its 2020 Biennial Investor Day with specific goals of cutting its carbon, water and waste footprints by 50 percent. 

“Our Planet Positive initiatives have a central role in our long-term business strategy, and directly address what our customers are asking for,” Johnson said at the time. “We are moving toward a more circular economy, and we are doing so in a very intentional, transparent, and accountable way.”

Tags Borrow A Cup carbon emissions Carbon footprint Kevin Johnson Seattle single-use products South Korea Starbucks Sustainability

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