Starbucks Testing Re-Usable Cup Program


SEATTLE — Starbucks has launched a two-month trial of a re-usable cup program at select Seattle locations.

“Promoting re-usability is an important part of Starbucks goal to reduce waste by 50 per cent by 2030,” says Michael Kobori, Chief Sustainability Officer, Starbucks. “We understand the interdependency of human and planetary health and believe it’s our responsibility to reduce single-use cup waste. We will lead the transition to a circular economy.”

Building on learnings from single-store tests over the fall and winter, Starbucks is scaling its Borrow-A-Cup program to five locations in Seattle from March 30 to May 31. The program provides customers the option to receive their beverage in a re-usable cup and return it at a participating store’s contactless kiosk or at-home through a Seattle-area service called Ridwell.

Ridwell offers a home pick-up service for re-usable and hard-to-recycle items. Ridwell customers can place their Starbucks re-usable cup in a custom, re-usable-cup bag and place it in their Ridwell bin for easy pickups from their front door.

“We are so excited to be partnering with a fellow Seattle company dedicated to making re-use possible on a much bigger scale,” says Caroline Stanford, Marketing vice-president, Ridwell. “Our members have told us they overwhelmingly prefer to shop with businesses that are invested in sustainable practices — if we can crack the code with programs like Borrow A Cup, there is such a huge opportunity to reduce the waste footprint in our communities.”

To use the Borrow-A-Cup program, customers can order their hot or cold beverage in a re-usable cup in participating cafés, through the drive-thru or via Mobile Order and Pay, paying a refundable deposit of $1 for the cup. When returning cups to the contactless return kiosks located in the lobby or drive-thru, users will receive a $1 credit to their Starbucks Rewards account by scanning the Starbucks App, as well as 10 Bonus Stars. The cups are then professionally cleaned and sanitized by GO Box and returned to within 48 hours.

Starbucks also recently committed to eliminating single-use cups from all of its Korean locations by 2025.

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