Starbucks is starting to work toward ditching disposable coffee cups

In case you get a cup of coffee at some Starbucks shops in Seattle, you now have the choice of ordering it in a reusable takeout cup. The cup seems related to the corporate’s plastic cups for chilly drinks, however it’s designed to be sturdy sufficient for repeated reuse: When a buyer returns a cup, it’s cleaned, sterilized, and prepared for the following buyer inside 48 hours.

In fact, reusable cups—usually within the type of ceramic mugs—aren’t modern for a coffee store. (Starbucks additionally gives “for right here” mugs, although baristas hardly ever appear to counsel them, and clients hardly ever request them; reusable cups had been additionally briefly banned due to the pandemic.) However in a world the place most clients anticipate to stroll out the door with their coffee and even individuals who personal reusable journey mugs can overlook to carry them, the system is an alternative choice. And it’s one thing that the corporate plans to roll out extra extensively. In South Korea, all 1,500 Starbucks shops will section out single-use cups over the following 4 years.

[Photo: Starbucks]

Within the Seattle pilot, clients who select the reusable cup pay a $1 deposit. They’ve the choice of returning the cup to a self-service kiosk that scans a code and provides them the deposit again, together with rewards factors. A startup referred to as Go Box picks up the cups for cleansing. If somebody takes the cup residence, they will schedule a pickup from Ridwell, an organization that collects hard-to-recycle gadgets from a bin subsequent to somebody’s entrance door.

The pilot, which began on March 30, will final via the tip of Could. It’s not clear the place it’ll lead; after making an attempt a reusable-cup pilot at London’s Gatwick Airport in 2018, the corporate determined not to make the apply everlasting. However Starbucks shops in South Korea will start rolling out the same program this summer season; by 2025, all shops within the nation will cease providing disposable cups.


[Photo: Starbucks]

Whereas Starbucks is aiming to reduce the quantity of trash it sends to landfills in half by 2030, the transfer in South Korea is additionally being pushed by nationwide coverage. In 2018, the nation banned plastic cups for dine-in clients at eating places, and in 2020, lawmakers launched a invoice that may drive fast-food eating places and coffee retailers to cost clients a deposit charge for disposable cups.

Within the U.S., the proposed Break Free From Plastic Air pollution Act requires banning single-use gadgets that aren’t recyclable or compostable, and since Starbucks paper coffee cups aren’t recyclable or compostable but in most areas, they’d doubtless be included within the ban. Activists are pushing for the corporate to additionally voluntarily transfer extra shortly within the U.S. and the remainder of the world.

Starbucks’s determination to finish its reliance on throwaway supplies and implement a reuse program in South Korea is the sort of method we have now been ready to see,” John Hocevar, oceans marketing campaign director for Greenpeace USA, stated in an announcement. “However the firm should not cease right here, notably as the majority of Starbucks’s plastic footprint is not restricted to Korea. There is no cause that Starbucks can’t develop this similar reusable kiosk expertise to its shops in the US and all over the world to guarantee a a lot better affect as shortly as potential. The air pollution disaster requires these kind of daring options and we not have time to wait to scale them up in shops all over the world in one other 10 years.”