Starbucks rolls out reusable cups across Europe

Starbucks will trial a reusable cup share programme in the UK later this year as part of a commitment to offer the programme across all 3,840 European, Middle East and Africa stores by 2025.  

The UK pilot scheme will be developed, delivered and evaluated in partnership with environmental charity Hubbub and will allow customers to pay a small deposit for a reusable cup. Customers will be able to use their cup and return it Starbucks via a kiosk or at point of sale whereupon they will be given their deposit back in the form of a tender. Similar pilot schemes will run in Germany and France.

The scheme will see the introduction of a new reusable cup that contains around 70% less plastic than current reusable cups, according to Starbucks, and a unique insulation structure that allows it to be used for both hot and cold drinks without the need for an outer sleeve. Starbucks will still offer a 25p discount for any customer bringing in their own reusable cup.

The reusable cup share programme is the latest step in Starbucks’ efforts to reduce single-use waste which in the UK has previously included putting a 5p charge on disposable cups. The income generated through the charge, which will be reintroduced in the UK having been suspended during the coronavirus pandemic, has been used by Hubbub to invest in campaigns across the UK boosting reuse, creating new recycling infrastructure, tackling littering and promoting the circular economy.

Hubbub said the take-up of reusable cups in Starbucks outlets had more than doubled as a result of the introduction of the cup charge, while trial reuse schemes have been run at Gatwick Airport and in Manchester.

“We have set an ambitious goal to be a resource positive company and I believe we have a responsibility to give our customers new and unique options to integrate reusables in their day to day lives,” said Duncan Moir, president of Starbucks EMEA. “While we have made great strides in reducing the number of single use paper cups that leave our stores there is more to be done and we must make reusability the only option, long term”.

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