Starbucks is attempting to transform their company into being more environment friendly, beginning with making their cups reusable. The leading coffee franchise is launching the experimental program “burrow a cup” in select stores in Seattle, WA.
Starting as a two-month trial in five Seattle stores, the “burrow a cup” program will be giving customers the choice of whether or not they would like to receive their drinks in a reusable cup.
Customers that choose a reusable cup pay a refundable $1 deposit, however once the cup is returned they’re refunded a 1$ credit alongside 10 Bonus Stars for their Starbucks Rewards account. While the program setup is conducive for in-store Starbucks drinkers, they have also made the program convenient for customers that have taken the cup home. Starbucks’ partnership with Ridewell allows for customers reusable cups to be picked up from their home.
Each reusable cup is then sanitized and thoroughly cleaned for another customer to use, much like how restaurants prepare their cups for new customers to use. While it may seem like this program would be cumbersome to Starbucks employees and an extra expense for consumers, the program is highly necessary in order to protect the environment.
The current Starbucks paper and plastic cups are typically unrecyclable, resulting in the cups ending up in landfills or the environment. According to CNN, “the plastic lining can break down into microplastics that may harm marine life or enter the human food chain.”
Starbucks’ new efforts will help the coffee company advance their goal of reducing waste by 50% by 2030. Although the new project launch is being experimented for the first time in the U.S., Starbucks launched a reusable cup trial at Gatwick Airport in London in 2019, according to CNN.
If the Seattle “burrow a cup” program is successful, reusable cups could become the norm at every Starbucks nationwide.