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‘Starbucks will replace single-use plastic cups with reusable ones’; Read on…

As sustainable practices become increasingly important around the world, Starbucks is taking action by getting rid of single-use cups in an effort to prevent waste, and by encouraging customers to use reusable ones instead. According to a press release dated March 15, 2022, the American coffee chain – which has outlets worldwide – is ‘testing new technologies’ that can enable it to ‘create the best possible experiences’ for its partners and customers.

The company also intends to become ‘resource positive’. As Starbucks’ chief sustainability officer, Michael Kobori states they want ‘to store more carbon than they emit, to eliminate waste, and to conserve and replenish more freshwater’ than they use. ‘Innovation is how we will advance our planet-positive impact, and boldly reimagine our future together.’

To promote reusability, Starbucks is moving away from single-use plastics. By 2025, Starbucks aims to create a ‘cultural movement towards reusables by providing customers with a personal or Starbuck’s-provided reusable cup every time they visit’. In the US and Canada, customers will be able to take their own reusable cup to the restaurant, the drive-thru, and the mobile ordering and paying areas by the end of 2023.

It is testing multiple reusable programs and operating models, such as:

1. Borrow A Cup: Customers will be able to order drinks in reusable Starbucks cups, which will be returned to the store, cleaned, and re-used by other customers.

2. 100% Reusable Operating Models: By eliminating single-use cups, reusable cups, personal cups, or here-and-now cups can be used instead.

3. Personal Cups and For-Here-Ware: To encourage customers to bring their own cups to Starbucks for-here-ware as the ‘default sit-and-stay experience’.

Kim Davis, a store manager, who led one of the first store tests of ‘Borrow a Cup’ in the US, said, ‘Customers were just so excited to try something new… I think everyone wants to do something to make the world a better place, and if we can help them do that, then that right there is our mission right there’.


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