Whether you’re a coffee enjoyer, a pastry lover, or a cup collector, you’ve probably visited Starbucks once or twice in your life. From the first Seattle location that opened up in 1971, to the over 33,000 stores worldwide today, Starbucks has definitely made its mark and caught the attention of many. It’s no secret that Starbucks cares about the quality of its company and its employees, which is why they have made efforts to eliminate plastic waste and encourage reusable cups to be used in its stores.
In the past, Starbucks has tried to eliminate plastic straws. Back in 2018, this plan was announced and anticipated to be carried out by 2020. Strawless lids were announced, and straws with less wasteful material were proposed. This campaign was successful, and the ten million dollar commitment reduced a significant amount of waste. Starbucks is now making further changes to reduce the carbon footprint of its brand.
By 2030, the company wants to reduce 50% of its waste. This was announced by the CEO, Kevin Johnson. To do this, reusable cups will be implemented, and a new app for employees will be created, so they can better track their waste and where the cups are going. Starbucks has been testing trial programs out for a few weeks now, where customers can use their own reusable cups, or follow a borrow-and-return program. In the borrow-and return program, customers order and pay a $1 refundable deposit for a reusable cup, and return the cup after scanning it at a contactless return kiosk, repeating this multiple times. Customers would then be able to use these cups again, after being professionally cleaned. Think of it as a restaurant – to eliminate waste, Starbucks would implement this idea. This would replace the waste of 30 disposable cups.
There has been speculation over whether the borrow-and-return program will be effective in reducing Starbucks’ carbon footprint, but based on the success of Starbucks’ less waste plan from 2020, it appears that they will be able to efficiently reduce waste The company plans on taking small, but significant steps to do this, creating a better name and brand for Starbucks and its customers.
Time will only tell how Starbucks employees and customers will acclimate to this new system, though it is undeniably a step in the right direction for Starbucks.