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Starbucks Sells $1 Reusable Cups

Starbucks began selling $1 reusable cups to customers at all of its North American stores yesterday, in an effort to curb waste.

The white plastic cup with the green Starbucks logo looks like the coffee maker’s traditional white paper cups, according to media reports. It holds a tall or grande-size drink and is recyclable.

The coffee giant already offers a dime discount to its customers who bring in a reusable tumbler, Bloomberg says.

The Los Angeles Times writes that Starbucks began testing the reusable cups in October at 600 Pacific Northwest stores. By the following month, the test region saw a 26 percent boost in reusable cup usage compared to October 2011.

In 2008, the Seattle-based brewer set a goal to serve 25 percent of all drinks in reusable cups by 2015. Starbucks later reduced the goal to 5 percent. In 2011, Starbucks served 1.9 percent of all drinks in multiuse cups, up from 1.5 percent in 2009, according to its latest sustainability report.

In July 2012, Starbucks launched EarthSleeve, a compostable hot-cup sleeve that decreases raw fiber material use by 34 percent and increases post-consumer content by 25 percent, compared to similar products.

Starbucks’ reusable mugs are the latest example of efforts to reduce the amount of disposable cups and food containers that end up in landfills.

In July 2012, Eco-Products launched a reusable “event” cup made from 25 percent post-consumer recycled polypropolene at Planet Bluegrass’s 39th Annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival in Telluride, Colo.

The following month, Jamba Juice pledged to replace its Styrofoam cups with an environmentally friendly alternative after receiving a petition started by a 10-year-old girl.

Also in 2012, the Los Angeles Unified School District has begun using recyclable and compostable paper cafeteria trays instead of foam lunch carriers, and chemical company BASF partnered with the Seattle Mariners to debut compostable snack bags at a baseball game.

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5 thoughts on “Starbucks Sells $1 Reusable Cups

  1. Great to see Starbucks trying to change consumers’ behavior. Another suggestion might be “prompts”. Something to remind the customer to bring the cup. One idea might be a small window sticker for the car above the lock.

  2. In this move by Starbucks makes no sense to me because if they really want to help the environment, they should either (A) use coffee cups made of recycled paper or (B) allow patrons to bring in their own coffee cups/mugs?

    On second thought, this action by Starbucks does make sense; they’re selling these $1 cups as part of a public relations (i.e. less expensive marketing campaign) effort, one which the media is drinking up (no pun intended).

  3. Plastic cups eh? Those are still made with fossil fuels and depending on the rating of plastic, maybe they shouldn’t be reused at all? Providing a larger discount to customers that bring in their own cups would be beneficial to all. Then Starbucks wouldn’t have to spend $$ on lame cups and the consumer could save more than $0.10 per drink.

  4. There is no question that Starbucks and other fast-food restaurants produce an unacceptable amount of waste. In Starbucks’ defense (and in response to Enviro Equipment Blog), Starbucks DOES use recycled content in its cups (just 10%), provides discounts to customers who bring their own cups/mugs, and will serve coffee in a store-owned ceramic mug if you ask. This probably doesn’t add up to a lot, but the option is at least there.

  5. I just purchased my re-useable $1 cup from Starbucks. While we all have a long way to go before reach that point of perfection, I do believe that the coffee giant is making an effort to help us (the consumers) to be aware. For those of us who are concerned about the environment, it is one more small step in the right direction. I’m not concerned about the fact that Starbucks needs to continue to be profitable and that they sell these cups. After all, they don’t just appear out of thin air…..

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