In celebration of Earth Month in April, several Starbucks stores are undergoing a two month borrow-and-return trial program with its reusable cups. As part of its ongoing commitment to reducing single use cup waste and goal to reduce waste by 50% by 2030, five Seattle Starbucks locations will allow customers to order their beverage in a reusable cup, each replacing up to 30 disposable cups, which can then be returned.
The program, which started March 31 and lasts through the end of May, provides customers the option to receive their beverage in a reusable cup and return it at a participating store’s contactless kiosk or at-home through a Seattle-area service called Ridwell.
“Promoting reusability is an important part of Starbucks goal to reduce waste by 50% by 2030,” says Michael Kobori, Starbucks chief sustainability officer. “We understand the interdependency of human and planetary health, and we believe it is our responsibility to reduce single use cup waste. We will lead the transition to a circular economy.”
Here’s how the program works:
- Order a beverage in a reusable cup and pay a $1 deposit – Customers can order their hot or cold beverage in a newly designed reusable cup in-person at a participating Starbucks Café or Drive-Thru or via Mobile Order and Pay, then pay a $1 refundable deposit.
- Return the cup and receive a $1 credit and 10 Bonus Stars – When customers are done, they scan their cup at a participating store’s contactless return kiosk located in the lobby or drive-thru and drop the cup in the designated opening in the kiosk. Then, they scan their Starbucks App to receive a $1 credit to their Starbucks Rewards account, in addition to 10 Bonus Stars
- Each cup is professionally cleaned and sanitized – For the Borrow a Cup program, Starbucks has partnered with GO Box, a reuse system operator and service provider, to collect borrowed cups from stores daily, professionally clean and sanitize them using commercial dishwashing equipment and put them back into circulation within 48 hours.
“Reducing waste through reuse is an important way to support a transition to a more circular economy. Since our launch in 2010, GO Box has been working to develop systematic processes and infrastructure to scale reusable packaging for food and drink to go,” says Jocelyn Gaudi Quarrell, chief executive officer of Go Box. “We’re thrilled to be partnered with Starbucks to ensure the Borrow A Cup program is a safe and sustainable choice for your favorite beverage.”