Starbucks introduces $1 reusable cup to cut down on waste
January 3rd, 2013
01:45 PM ET
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Starting Thursday, Starbucks customers will have the option to save their planet - and their wallets - a dime at a time. The coffee giant is offering $1 plastic cups, which can be reused for drink purchases at a discount of ten cents.

Jim Hanna, the director of environmental affairs at Starbucks, told USA Today that while the company has sold reusable tumblers for some time and offered the ten cent discount, he expects that the modest price of its new one, available at company-owned stores in the U.S. and Canada, will encourage consumers to take action more frequently. The new effort comes largely in response to consumer criticism over the volume of paper coffee cup waste - approximately 4 billion cups globally each year - generated by Starbucks.

The responsibility section of Starbucks' website details the company's efforts to work with vendors and local authorities to get more of its paper cups recycled, and to host recurring "Cup Summits" collaborating on the issue with industry leaders from MIT, Tim Horton’s, Georgia-Pacific and Action Carting Environmental Services. By 2015, Starbucks plans to have front-of-store recycling in all its company-owned locations.

According to a 2011 report issued by Starbucks, that year, customers used personal tumblers more than 34 million times - nearly 2% of all beverages served in global company-owned stores. While this represented a 55% increase in personal tumbler use from 2008's tally, Starbucks admitted to challenges in tracking cup use both in and away from their stores, and reduced the company's goal of 25% reusable cups by 2015 to 5%.

The reusable cups are made in China, and have fill lines inside denoting "tall," "grande" and "venti"-sized drinks. The cups will be rinsed with boiling water by Starbucks employees before they're refilled, reducing the risk of cross-contamination, but at least one more challenge remains: will customers actually remember to bring them into the store?



soundoff (552 Responses)
  1. Kimberly

    I'm surprised Starbucks purchased the "Green" Cups all the way from China!! That doesn't seem "green" to me!

    March 15, 2014 at 10:52 pm | Reply
  2. Priya

    Paper cup recycling is available but most of the starbucks does not use it. So paper companies provide the recycling facility to their customers.

    October 30, 2013 at 8:11 am | Reply
  3. Tom

    Better still make your own bloody coffee in the morning, that way starbucks will have no waste.

    July 14, 2013 at 7:05 pm | Reply
  4. Georgiana

    Know how to have free coffee in starbucks

    February 20, 2013 at 4:38 pm | Reply
  5. Chelle

    Got my first and ONLY $1 reusable Starbucks cup. I don't understand how it's going to significantly cut down on waste when you still need a sleeve for hot beverages. It was much cheaper than I expected, even for a $1 cup, and there's no incentive to use their cup when I can bring my own, nice cup from home and get the same 10 cents off. It certainly looks and performs like a cheap, China made product! Other companies, like Dunkin', offer MUCH nicer cups and MUCH nicer incentives to reuse their cups. Maybe Starbucks should have taken a lesson from them.

    January 8, 2013 at 5:01 pm | Reply
    • Sam

      You could buy a reusable sleeve. I'm not positive if they sell them at Starbucks all the time, but you can find some really nice cloth ones! :)

      April 1, 2013 at 12:08 pm | Reply
  6. Joe Rockbottom

    Don't go to starbucks at all. They support gun fanantics by allowing the open-carry nutjobs to congregate in their stores with their guns.

    Boycott starbucks.

    Peet's, on the otherhand is a courageous fighter against gun fanatics and does not allow guns in their stores. Buy Peet's.

    January 7, 2013 at 2:37 pm | Reply
    • Harriette

      Gun fanatics. . . . hmm . . . who do you want walking around with a gun? A responsible. adult owner, trained and ready to defend herself and/or you, (and your children), when the nut-job who doesn't give a crap about the legality of carrying the gun or shooting you with it arrives OR JUST the nut-job? Use your brain.

      Starbucks rocks – BTW, people carry everywhere – you just don't know it . . . because they are abiding the law by CONCEALING.

      January 11, 2013 at 12:05 pm | Reply
      • Harriette

        If you live in an open carry state, then get the law changed if you don't like it. In fact, in many open carry states those responsible gun owners would be BREAKING the law by concealing.

        January 11, 2013 at 12:07 pm | Reply
    • ken86turbo

      Starbucks earned my business, see you on 2/22 ! You can stay home Joe Rockbottom and watch Piers Morgan.

      February 22, 2013 at 4:11 pm | Reply
  7. TruthMatters

    Umm can't the papercups they already have be recycled? What's wrong with coffee stained paper? At least the paper cups can decompose. All this is gonna do is create billions of plastic cups that will fill landfills for a longer period of time. It's just a way for Starbucks to make another buck off of you. If the papercups cant be recycled for whatever reason, i.e. access to recylcing facilities in certain countries or coffee stains, then the better thing to do is for Starbucks to invest in opening recycling centres that can recylce their papercups.

    January 7, 2013 at 10:16 am | Reply
  8. Jim

    Good grief! Just make your own coffee at home and bring it an your lunch to work like I did for 40 years. You'll have more money left at the end of that time if you do. Only go out to lunch on Friday like me and my cohorts did. You'll be amazed at how much you can save.

    January 6, 2013 at 9:45 pm | Reply
  9. Chollaberry

    This is the best they could do?

    January 6, 2013 at 9:09 pm | Reply
  10. DaveMartines

    The first time you forget your re-usable cup to save a dime, the whole scheme crashes and your down a buck. Dumbest idea ever.

    January 6, 2013 at 1:47 pm | Reply
    • Miguel

      Um – how's that, Dave? Does the cup, sitting at home, magically catch fire, preventing you from saving a dime the next day, and every day after that? (By the way: it's "you're"down," not "your down.")

      January 7, 2013 at 1:02 am | Reply
    • Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

      Dave's not here

      January 16, 2013 at 1:04 pm | Reply
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