In December, Starbucks followed up on its plans of reducing cup waste by introducing new plastic tumblers. The cups cost $1 each, and customers using them get a discount of 10 cents off every drink.
Starbucks’ iconic white paper cups are well-known. While the cups are representative of Starbucks, however, it’s estimated that 4 billion of them are disposed worldwide each year.
To take responsibility, Starbucks has been holding “Cup Summits” since 2009 to work on ways to reduce waste. The company’s goal is to make 100% of its cups reusable or recyclable by 2015. Starbucks has decided to use the previous summits’ flaws and achievements to complete its goal.
In a corporate report on its website, Starbucks said, “Since our first Cup Summit, we’ve learned that success has been a combination of forward-thinking collaborations along with innovative approaches to widespread challenges… We now believe that the improvement of local recycling infrastructures and commercial markets for used paper and plastics will ultimately drive recyclability.”
These reusable tumblers are made of plastic and have lines marking popular Starbucks drink sizes: Tall or Grande. To reduce cross-contamination, they are also washed in hot water before use by Starbucks employees.
“I think these cups are a really good idea,” says Jessica Kang, a student at Whitney High School. “Of course, people might forget to bring the tumblers into the store, but they are so convenient and their price doesn’t make me guilty for buying two or three to leave one at home, and one in the car.”