Starbucks revives reusable cup use after pandemic pause
SeongJoon Cho | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Starbucks announced Tuesday that customers will be able to use reusable cups in company-owned cafes starting June 22, after the program was paused due to Covid-19.
It’s the latest signal from restaurants and retailers that business in the US is back to normal as states relax restrictions. Last month, Starbucks and many other companies stopped requiring fully vaccinated customers to wear masks in stores. Costco begins bringing samples back to the store while Target has reopened its dressing rooms.
To fill a customer’s personal mug, a Starbucks barista first checks that the mug is clean and places it in a ceramic vessel. The drink is prepared without contact with the cup and the customer picks up his drink at the transfer area of the counter. Only clean cups are accepted. Reusable cups are not accepted in drive-through lanes, although the company is testing ways to do so safely at its Tryer Center in Seattle.
Before the health crisis, Starbucks offered a 10 cents discount to customers who brought their own mugs. In March 2020, she paused the decade-old program in North America, citing the growing threat from the virus.
Despite its longevity, only a few customers use the program. Starbucks consumes around 7 billion disposable cups every year, thereby burdening its goal of ultimately becoming resource-efficient. It is currently testing initiatives to reduce the use of single-use cups, including launching a circular cup program in South Korea this summer. The company will offer a range of reusable cups at all locations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa by 2025.
The coffee giant’s shares are up 4% this year, giving the company a market value of $ 131 billion.