Starbucks launches reusable cup option for mobile and drive-thru orders


(NEW YORK) — Starbucks will become the first nationwide coffee retailer to accept reusable cups for mobile orders, effective immediately, the coffeehouse chain said in a release Wednesday. Customers will now also have the same reusable cup option for drive-thru orders for the first time.

Coffee drinkers can now fill a “clean, personal cup for every visit,” whether their order comes via drive-thru, mobile, or cafe purchase at all company-operated and participating licensed stores, according to the release.

“With the majority of Starbucks beverages enjoyed on the go, this milestone unlocks a big opportunity for customers to choose reusables and supports Starbucks’ commitment to reduce waste by 50 percent by 2030,” Starbucks said in the release.

The company also noted the effort to more broadly encourage reusable cups falls in line with Starbucks’ 2022 goal of reducing cup waste sent to landfills.

“At Starbucks, we envision a future where every beverage can be served in a reusable cup,” Michael Kobori, Starbucks chief sustainability officer, said in a statement.

“Offering customers more options to use a personal cup when they visit Starbucks marks tangible progress towards the future. We know our customers are passionate about the planet, and now, they can join us in our efforts to give more than we take, no matter how they order,” Kobori’s statement continued.

The new program comes with a financial incentive as well. Customers who use a personal cup will receive a ten-cent discount on their beverage. For Starbucks Rewards customers in the U.S., participating customers will receive 25 Bonus Stars.

The release instructs customers at drive-thru locations to notify the barista that they have a reusable cup. Next, “baristas will collect customers’ personal cup without the lid using a contactless vessel to ensure hygiene and safety. The beverage will be returned the same way.”

For mobile ordering, customers should select “Customization” and “Personal Cup” and hand their personal cups to the barista once they arrive at the store.

The release emphasizes the importance of making sure personal cups are.

“For customers’ safety and ours, baristas cannot rinse personal cups in Starbucks equipment sinks. For this reason, no dirty cups will be accepted,” the company said in the release.

According to Starbucks, after a “personal cup test” at 200 drive-thrus across Colorado last spring, the company decided to go forward with the program nationwide.

“As long as we are following all our procedures and steps, it doesn’t add any more time, and it is actually making customers happier,” said Brook, a partner who worked at a store that participated in the Colorado test, per the release. “This has been a really big hit.”

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