September 21, 2023

A barista washes on a sink in a Starbucks Coffee Korea Co. shop in Gimpo, South Korea.

SeongJoon Cho | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Starbucks has pledged to end single-use cups in South Korea by 2025 to cut global landfill waste in half by the end of the decade.

The coffee giant has long promised to cut back on the roughly 7 billion disposable cups it goes through each year, most of which end up in landfills. For decades, with a brief hiatus in the first few months of the coronavirus pandemic, the company has offered a 10 cents discount to customers who bring mugs, but few choose that option.

After Starbucks announced last year that it would eventually become “resource positive,” the company has set additional goals to reduce water use, carbon emissions and waste. On Tuesday, the company announced that it will be running a two-month pilot on a loan and return program at five coffee shops in Seattle, where it is headquartered. The company announced a series of new targets for its South Korean market on Monday, including reducing its carbon footprint by 30% by 2025.

Starbucks plans to launch a circular cup program in South Korea to slowly encourage customers to reuse cups and mugs. This summer, the chain plans to roll out a program in select Jeju cafes that will allow consumers to leave a small deposit for a reusable mug that they can return to a contactless return kiosk.

Starbucks shares rose 1.9% in morning trading. The company’s shares are up 64% over the past year, for a market value of $ 131 billion.