Starbucks announced the launch of a trial of the Borrow A Cup program, an waste reduction initiative enabling customers to receive their beverage in a reusable and returnable cup.

The program, an expansion of recent single-store tests, will run for two months in five Seattle stores, and forms part of Starbucks’ commitment to reducing single use cup waste and its goal to reduce waste by 50% by 2030, one of the company’s key sustainability goals announced last year.

Michael Kobori, Starbucks Chief Sustainability Officer, said:

“Promoting reusability is an important part of Starbucks goal to reduce waste by 50% by 2030. 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.”

According to Starbucks, while its cups are already recyclable under the right circumstances, they can only be used once. Reusability would significantly reduce the waste problem associated with single-use cups, with the company estimating that each reusable cup introduced by the trial program replacing up to 30 disposable cups. The trial aims to solve the challenge of convenience, enabling customers to choose reusables without introducing extra steps.

Under the Borrow a Cup program, customers order a beverage in a reusable cup and pay a $1 deposit. Customers can then scan and return the cup at a participating store’s contactless return kiosk, and scan their Starbucks App to receive a $1 credit to their Starbucks Rewards account, in addition to 10 Bonus Stars. The cup is then professionally cleaned and sanitized and returned to circulation within 48 hours, through a partnership with reuse system operator and service provider GO Box.

Jocelyn Gaudi Quarrell, CEO, Go Box, said:

“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.”

Adding a home pickup option, Starbucks partnered with reuse and recycle-focused company Ridwell, which offers a home pick-up service for reusable and hard to recycle items.

Caroline Stanford, Ridwell Marketing Vice President, said:

“We are so excited to be partnering with a fellow Seattle company dedicated to making reuse possible at a much bigger scale. 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.”

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