Get ready to start bringing your own cup to Starbucks

Image via Starbucks

Successful test runs of reusable cups have spurred long-term sustainability plans

Starbucks is getting serious about sustainability

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, customers were encouraged to bring in a Starbucks-brand reusable cup to their local store, and in exchange, they received a small discount for not requiring a plastic cup.

While the pandemic put those sustainability efforts on hold to help stop the spread of germs, the coffee chain reinstated its reusable cup policy, and now the plans are being kicked up a notch. 

The company has conducted tests in several markets across the country, and the consensus is that reusable cups are the future. Starbucks plans to prioritize sustainability at all locations across the U.S. and Canada, with plans for all stores to be reusable cup-friendly by 2024.

These sustainability efforts will hold up regardless of how consumers order – mobile, drive-thru, or in-store.  

“Our latest round reusables test around the world contribute to our goal for all customer packaging to be reusable, recyclable, or compostable in the future,” said Amelia Landers, vice president of business strategy at Starbucks. “We know our partners and customers care about the planet, and we’re proud to offer them ways to join us in making sustainable choices in their everyday lives.” 

Rewarding sustainability

The latest sustainability test locations are in Napa and Petaluma, Calif., and will run through October 22. 

Whether customers are sitting in-store, ordering at the drive-thru, or coming into the store to order, there are a number of sustainability options: For Here Ware -- a reusable or ceramic glass cup for customers sit in the store -- bringing your own cup, or opting for Borrow a Cup from Starbucks.

When customers Borrow a Cup, they must return it to their local Starbucks location and put it in a special TURN Systems bin, which will track how and when cups are returned. 

There are also options for rewards when consumers choose a reusable option. Those who borrow a cup from Starbucks will be able to register online with TURN to win a prize.

Those who bring their own cups from home will receive $0.10 off their order and 25 bonus stars on their Starbucks Rewards account. 

These options are currently fully operational in Colorado, where Starbucks was testing them earlier this year. Following its success, the company made the changes permanent, so customers are rewarded on every order when they choose sustainability. 

Sustainable and sanitized

When it comes to keeping things sanitized, Starbucks also has plans for that. When customers borrow a cup from their local store, they’re then rinsed and sanitized after customers return then and are ready to be used again. 

Stores have also implemented cleaning stations, so when customers come in with their own cups or with a borrowed cup, they can give the barista a clean cup that’s ready to refill. 

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