Starbucks wants the world to move away from disposable cups


Starbucks hopes customers will embrace a culture that moves away from disposable cups altogether by 2025.

Ahead of Earth Day next month, the Seattle-based chain on Tuesday outlined its journey to halving the amount of waste generated by its cafes by 2030. That effort includes a move to cups reusable in various forms, but also the search for a more sustainable solution. disposable option, and help support a recycling infrastructure that will result in less waste going to landfills.

Last year, the Seattle-based chain began allowing customers to bring their own reusable cups again, with team members being trained to follow contactless handling measures. During the pandemic, the channel had temporarily halted the program in light of COVID safety protocols.

Now Starbucks is expanding the reusable cup program and testing systems that will make the process easier and more convenient for customers.

By the end of 2023, customers will be able to use their personal reusable cups at all Starbucks in the United States and Canada, including coffee shops, drive-thru and for mobile ordering, the company said. At a unit near Arizona State University and in cafes in Hawaii, Starbucks is testing new cup washing stations, so customers can have their personal cups cleaned before ordering.

In the past, the chain offered a 10-cent discount for customers who bring their own cup, but now the chain is testing a discount of up to 50 cents. And in Germany and the UK, Starbucks charges customers a paper cup fee for disposable items to encourage the use of reusable items.

The company is also continuing to test the “Borrow-a-Cup” rental service in which customers pay a dollar deposit for a reusable cup, which is refunded when the cup is returned – then sanitized and reused. This test has expanded to the UK, Japan and Singapore, and more countries will be added this year, Starbucks said.

Additionally, customers consuming beverages onsite are encouraged to use “wares for here,” washable ceramic cups that further reduce reliance on disposables.

“We have a bold vision for long-term sustainability and ambitious goals for 2030,” Kevin Johnson, president and CEO of Starbucks, said in a statement. “Starbucks Partners around the world are passionate about protecting our planet and are at the very heart of the innovation that enables us to give more than we take from the planet.”

In some units, Starbucks has eliminated single-use cups entirely, relying only on reusable cups, personal cups and single-use items. Tested in four stores in Jeju, South Korea, the company estimates that 200,000 cups were diverted from landfills. The test has been expanded to 12 more locations in Seoul.

At the company’s Starbucks unit at the Seattle headquarters, all beverages are served in reusable cups. Team members can bring their own or use the cup borrowing system, returning used cups to kiosks placed around the office campus.

Starbucks is also launching a new app, which was developed by coffee partners, to help navigate unique recycling guidelines for each store. The app offers store-specific information and notifications about what can be recycled and how, with options to create signage for partners and customers.

The app was an idea that emerged from a competition of employees seeking innovations to create greener stores, in line with Johnson’s philosophy of “going from idea to action in 100 days”.

In a separate move, Starbucks said it would increase the recycled content of its disposable cups, starting this fall, to reduce reliance on virgin materials.

By the end of 2024, all US units will offer the improved disposable cup. And, by the end of 2022, all per- and polyfluoroalkyls — or “forever chemicals” known as PFAS — will be phased out of packaging in the U.S. and globally by 2023, s the company is committed. PFAS have been identified as potentially toxic and can leach into waterways and soil.

The 34,000-unit chain is also working to reduce its carbon footprint and expand its use of renewable energy.

In a new pilot program with automotive brand Volvo, Starbucks is installing ChargePoint-powered electric car fast chargers in a chain of 15 stores along a 1,350-mile route from the Colorado Rockies to central California. assistance from Seattle – about one every 100 miles or so.

The company is also moving more stores to solar power, expanding that pilot project to 55 new units this year.

Contact Lisa Jennings at [email protected]

Follow her on Twitter: @livetodineout


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