We all know the Starbucks cup. It’s iconic. And while technically, these cups can be recycled under the right circumstances, the truth is, they can only be used once. It is estimated that nearly 4 billion Starbucks cups end up in landfills every year. That is a problem the coffee giant is looking to address with its latest initiative; a two-month borrow-and-return trial that will run in five Seattle stores.
Through the trial, customers will be able to order their beverage in a reusable cup, which will help reduce waste by as many as 30 disposable cups per person, according to the company. Customers will receive credits and star rewards upon returning the cup at a participating store’s contactless kiosk or at-home through a Seattle-area service called Ridwell.
“We are so excited to be partnering with a fellow Seattle company dedicated to making reuse possible at a much bigger scale,” said Caroline Stanford, Ridwell Marketing Vice President.
“Our members have told us they overwhelmingly prefer to shop with businesses that are invested in sustainable practices – if we can crack the code with programs like Borrow a Cup there is such a huge opportunity to reduce the waste footprint in our communities.”
The initiative is part of Starbucks’ ongoing commitment to reduce single-use cup waste and reduce its overall waste by 50 percent by 2030.
“Promoting reusability is an important part of Starbucks goal to reduce waste by 50% by 2030,” said Michael Kobori, Starbucks Chief Sustainability Officer. “We understand the interdependency of human and planetary Health, and we believe it is our responsibility to reduce single use cup waste. We will lead the transition to a circular economy.”
The company conducted single-store tests this past Fall and Winter and is now scaling its Borrow A Cup program to the Seattle stores from March 30, 2021 to May 31, 2021.
Here’s how it works:
- Customer orders their beverage in a reusable cup and pay a $1 deposit.
- Customer returns the cup and receives a $1 credit and 10 Bonus Stars.
- Each cup is then professionally cleaned and sanitized.
“Order, sip, return, repeat!”