Starbucks moves to reusable cups in sustainability push

Starbucks customers will be able to use their own reusable cups in US and Canada by the end of 2023

Starbucks' iconic white paper cups could soon be a thing of the past.

In an attempt to reduce landfill waste, the coffee chain will be phasing out its single-use cups in favor of reusable mugs.

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The paper or plastic cups may not completely disappear, but they will be made less attractive.

Starbucks plastic and reusable cups in various sizes (Starbucks)

"We set a bold aspiration to become a resource positive company – to store more carbon than we emit, to eliminate waste and to conserve and replenish more freshwater than we use," Michael Kobori, Starbucks chief sustainability officer, said on the company's website. "This aspiration included setting ambitious 2030 targets to cut our carbon, water, and waste footprints in half."

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By the end of 2023, customers will be able to use their own reusable cups in U.S. and Canada. 

The company is trying out different programs in different countries.

Starbucks reusable cups on counter in front of stacks of paper cups (Starbucks)

One program, "Borrow a Cup," allows customers to drink their coffee and return the cup to a designated Starbucks where it will be professionally cleaned and used by other customers. 

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Another eliminates single-use cups entirely in favor of reusable personal cups.

Starbucks customer holds a reusable cup (Starbucks)

A third method focuses more on customers bringing their own cups. 

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In order to promote the plans, Starbucks will roll out incentives for customers such as free coffee, discounts, and offering washing stations for personal cups. 

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Traditional plastic straws will also be replaced with new compostable options.