Starbucks to phase out paper cups, moving to reusable options

Some programs could involve paying a deposit for a cup customers will return after use. Disposable lids and cups produce 40% of Starbucks’s packaging waste.

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By 2025, Starbucks hopes to give “customers easy access to a personal or Starbucks-provided reusable to-go cup for every visit,” the company said Tuesday.

By 2025, Starbucks hopes to give “customers easy access to a personal or Starbucks-provided reusable to-go cup for every visit,” the company said Tuesday.

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That Starbucks paper cup could soon be a thing of the past – or it could be more expensive – as the coffee giant explores reusable options.

Starbucks is “shifting away from single-use plastics and piloting reusable cup programs” in six markets, according to a Tuesday statement from the company. By the end of next year, customers will be allowed to use their own reusable cups in every store location in the United States and Canada.

And by 2025, the company hopes to give “customers easy access to a personal or Starbucks-provided reusable to-go cup for every visit,” the company said Tuesday.

Starbucks, which has a goal of reducing waste by 50% by 2030, on Tuesday also said it is testing multiple programs for cutting down on single-use cups in stores around the world.

Those include allowing customers to borrow a reusable cup “designed to be returned to stores” and eliminating single-use cups, among other options. Some programs could involve paying a deposit for a cup customers will return after they use it.

The coffee mainstay is also looking into other incentives, including a 10 cent single-use fee or a 50 cent discount to customers who bring in their own reusable cups. Starbucks already offers a 10 cent discount to customers who provide their own cups.

Disposable lids and cups produce 40% of Starbucks’s packaging waste, CNBC reported.

Starbucks set a goal in 2008 to have one-quarter of customers use reusable cups by 2015, though the company did not reach the target.

Last year, Starbucks announced the launch of a “Borrow A Cup” trial program in five stores in Seattle, allowing customers to order their beverage in a reusable cup for a $1 deposit. When they returned the cups, customers got the $1 back as well as rewards points through Starbucks’ loyalty programs.

Reusable cups are at the center of one of Starbucks’ most popular annual promotions, Red Cup Day when the chain gives away free holiday cups each November.

Starbucks has increased its prices in recent months. Additional price increases are also planned for this year.

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