Starbucks Introduces Environmentally-Friendly $1 Reusable Cups

Starting today, the Seattle-based coffee company will roll out a slew of new, plastic reusable $1 cups that resemble its iconic white paper cup.

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These $1 reusable plastic cup will begin rolling out at Starbucks location nationwide starting Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013.
Associated Press

These $1 reusable plastic cup will begin rolling out at Starbucks location nationwide starting Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013.

Would you like to make your green tea even greener? Or your espresso more eco-friendly? Starting Thursday, Starbucks is hoping to inject a bit of environmentalism into each one of its brewed drinks by offering it in a reusable mug, costing just $1. The new cups change very little, except for the material: they are nearly identical to the Seattle-based coffee company’s iconic white paper cup.

Of course, the paper cups are still available for no charge, but the company is hoping that it will increase customers’ habits in bringing reusable cups, an initiative they’ve promoted since 1985 which they currently nets customers a 10-cent discount on their order. The new cups will also follow this same policy, which means it’ll pay for itself in 10 uses. Nothing fuels a coffee addiction like a bit of environmental do-goodism.

(MORE: Starbucks Unveils $450 Stainless Steel Gift Card)

The program was first tested in Starbucks’ hometown of Seattle and throughout the already environmentally-friendly Pacific Northwest. It’s the same spirit that has encouraged shoppers to bring their own bags with them in San Francisco and Portland, both of which have enacted bans on plastic bags, requiring customers to bring their own or purchase reusable cloth bags. Seeing success, the reusable cups are now being rolled out to all of the U.S. and Canada.

It’s all part of a long-term effort by the chain to reduce environmental waste by cutting down on the number of paper cups finding their way to landfills. (Those Trenta cups take up quite a bit of space, you know.) Starbucks long announced ago that it wanted to serve at least 25% of drinks in reusable cups by the year of 2015. The company has substantially lowered their expectations with this newest initiative, revising the hoped-for proportion to 5% in the next two years. But it seems like an attainable goal — in 2011, Starbucks reports that 2% of drinks were served in reusable mugs. Now we just have to remember to grab ours off the counter before we run to Starbucks — a notoriously difficult feat before our first cup of coffee.

MORE: Do We Really Need 1,500 More Starbucks?

4 comments
SharlineNabulime
SharlineNabulime

If someone has an infectious disease, hands re-usable cup to a barista who is making 5 other lattes at rush hour, when does the barista have time to wash hands and continue making uncontaminated lattes? I support the notion of going green but when it comes to public safety, we should weigh our options. In as much as I hate the waste in using paper cups and their impact on the environment, they are the more sanitary option for the public. I once saw some sneeze, rub his nose, and hand his cup to the barista. When I kindly asked the barista to wash his hands before making my coffee, I was the rude one. Go figure! I still go to Starbucks but reheat my coffee and use a different cup because the baristas put their whole palm and press down on the cover when sealing the coffee...that has always grossed me out as well. And that lid is where my mouth would go if I hadn't seen the sneezing customer. Although, I do have to commend Starbucks for making sure that the person handling the dirtiest thing, money, isn't the one making your coffee as is the case at most Dunkin Donuts. Can $1 cure hepatitis, the flu, etc? #JustSaying

Kooky_84
Kooky_84

Eco-friendly versus tax avoidance? I'd rather patronize some other business that paid their tax and uses disposable cups than support a international business that actively avoids paying tax on foreign revenue.

Devil'sAdvocate
Devil'sAdvocate like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

If you also have to pay extra for the disposible ones, that will certainly help you remember! Works with grocery bags at supermarkets in many countries.

Rhurazz12
Rhurazz12


@Devil'sAdvocate  I know that the grocery chain here in Upstate South Caorlina called Aldi's does this. You have to pay extra for your bags with some them as much as $5 for the freezer contained grocery bags. The point here is to BYOB (bring your own bags) so that you can avoid those charges..helps to curb costs for their bags and you benefit at the same time...