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Starbucks unveils new plans to eliminate single-use cups, encourage reusable mugs


On March 21st, 2018, in Seattle, Washington, a protestor passes a coffee cup-shaped caricature outside the Starbucks Annual Shareholders meeting at McCaw Hall.

Stephen Brashear | Getty Images

Where? StarbucksThe Seattle coffee chain reopened last week. Its returning workers discovered that disposable paper and plastic cups were being replaced with reusable alternatives.

This is a positive change the company hopes to make to all its cafes around the world, which use approximately 7 billion disposable cups each year.

Starbucks revealed the most recent steps to decrease its disposable cup usage ahead of Wednesday’s annual shareholder meeting. They include 20 distinct iterations across 8 markets, which are all designed to find the best way to eliminate the single-use coffee cup.

Starbucks customers can now use their own cups when ordering in the USA and Canada by the end of the year. This includes mobile orders and drive-thru, which currently are not allowed.

In an interview, Amelia Landers (Standard’s vice president for product innovation) stated that they are conducting many tests in order to determine how this is the most convenient for customers, won’t slow down the drive-thru lines for those behind, and will also be operationally friendly for their partners.

As it strives to be a “green” company, the goal is to reduce its carbon and waste emissions by half by 2030. “resource positive” one day. Starbucks hopes to provide easy access for all its customers by 2025 to the reusable cups they have provided or to those they brought from home.

According to Michael Kobori, chief sustainability officer of the company, disposable cups and lids account for 40% of its packaging waste.

He stated that the cup accounts for 20% of global waste, but is more than just an icon. Starbucks is known for its iconic cup. We can change the mindset of people if this disposable cup becomes a symbol that wastes, by replacing it with a reusable. Starbucks is able to set an example, and transform the entire industry.

The company has struggled to get customers to give up single-use cups. Starbucks had previously established a 2008 goal to get 25% of its customers using reusable cups by 2015. However, the company failed to meet that target.

Landers explained that “What our consumer research has shown is that even passionate advocates of sustainability do not carry a reusable mug around with them.”

Since the 1980s Starbucks offers a 10% discount for every purchase of a personal cup/mug. But, few people take advantage. The company will be running different trials in the U.S. this year to determine how customers respond to financial incentives.

Starbucks will also be testing new cup-washing stations at its cafes on O’ahu and Arizona State University’s campuses. Before ordering their beverages, customers will have the option to clean their own cups.

Borrow-a-cup is being tested in Japan, Singapore, and London. The cups are designed to be returned back to the store, cleaned professionally and then reused again by others. Customers paid $1 for each cup, and the company had already tested it in Seattle.

Starbucks in South Korea already pledged to discontinue single-use cupsAll by 2025. Fourteen locations in Seoul and one in Jeju have made the switch to eliminating disposable cups. Starbucks claims that the initial test in Jeju resulted in about 200,000 disposable cups being diverted from landfills within three months.

Starbucks is committed to social causes such as racial justice. climate changeInvestors who consider corporate governance, as well as environmental and social factors, are attracted to the stock. The shares have dropped 26% during the last twelve months due to higher costs, macroeconomic uncertainties and the impact of conflict in Ukraine. Starbucks’ market capitalization is $91.1 billion.