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Starbucks’ Latest Reusable Cup Gambit

By on January 10th, 2013

Via Business Green, Starbucks has announced a scheme by which they will be serving coffee in cheap reusable plastic cups, which will sell for $1. (Starbucks has long rebated customers 10 cents if they bring in their own cups.)

According to Starbucks’ latest sustainability report, the company requires approximately four billion cups globally each year, the majority of which are handed out in disposable paper cups – many of which are not recycled.

The company said 1.9 percent of drinks were sold in reusable cups in 2011, meaning customers brought their own cups into stores more than 34 million times. As a result, more than 1.5 million pounds of paper waste were saved from landfill.

It’s understandable why reusable cup use is so poor; it requires the coffee drinker to remember to take a cup with them (as someone who often forgets his own reusable grocery bags I can sympathize) and to plan a Starbucks trip in advance. That doesn’t always happen. After all, if we were alert enough to plan these things in advance, we wouldn’t need the coffee. I do recognize the challenges of recycling coffee cups, particularly when coffee is consumed off-premises, but I’d like to see Starbucks make greater strides in that area rather than inundating the world with more plastic. After all, if they’re “cheap,” chances are they will be discarded at a somewhat high rate. Perhaps not as readily as paper cups, but eventually, which will pose a greater threat in landfills than paper cups.

TriplePundit has more.

  1. One Response to “Starbucks’ Latest Reusable Cup Gambit”

  2. By Evans Graphics on Jan 15, 2013 | Reply

    I agree, cheap plastic cups will be discarded as easily as paper ones, but will be far more harmful in landfill. Charging for these cups seems like a way to cash in on peoples consciences, knowing that they will discard them anyway. Not very PC or green.