Starbucks To Offer Reusable Cup-Share Program In All Europe, Middle East and Africa Stores By 2025

  • EMEA region to introduce projects in U.K., France, and Germany over the coming months; to be expanded across 43 countries by 2025
  • The Cup-Share initiative is part of the company’s ongoing approach to encourage customers to use reusables which includes a paper cup surcharge, reusables discount and in store ceramic offerings in the majority of its EMEA locations
  • The work supports Starbucks global approach to being a resource positive company by managing its single use cup waste and goal to reduce waste by 50% by 2030

Today, Starbucks announced that it will introduce a unique reusable Cup-Share program in all of its 3,840 stores in Europe, Middle East, and Africa by 2025 as it looks to reduce the amount of its single use waste. An initial trial will begin over the coming months in the U.K., France and Germany expanding shortly thereafter based on local operations, regulations, and customer feedback.

Introducing and scaling a reusable Cup-Share initiative in EMEA is a key part of Starbucks global commitment to reduce single use cup waste and goal to reduce waste by 50% by 2030. The program is designed to overcome barriers currently limiting reusable cup usage. This work also expands on the company’s comprehensive strategy to designing out waste which includes in-store recycling and ceramic availability, reusable discounts, as well as paper cup surcharges and developing a circular economy through merchandise like the Starbucks Circular Cup.

Duncan Moir, president Starbucks EMEA said:

We have set an ambitious goal to be a resource positive company and I believe we have a responsibility to give our customers new and unique options to integrate reusables in their day to day lives. While we have made great strides in reducing the number of single use paper cups that leave our stores there is more to be done and we must make reusability the only option, long term”.

In the pilot projects, Starbucks will trial a Cup-Share program that allows customers to pay a small deposit for a reusable cup for hot and cold beverages. Tested to last up to 30 times and available in three sizes, each cup uses an identifying number associated with the Starbucks reusable cup to the deposit paid. The customer will then be able to use their reusable and return it to Starbucks via a kiosk or at the point of sale. Upon return, Starbucks will give the deposit back to the customer in the form of tender

As part of the Cup-Share program, Starbucks will be introducing a new reusable cup that uses patented foaming technology that results in a rigid and durable wall structure with up to 70% less plastic than current reusable cups. In addition, this unique wall structure provides insulation for both hot and cold liquids, so that it can be used for both hot and cold beverages without the need for any sleeve, helping to further reduce our resource footprint.

This initiative will be in addition to providing a 25-30 pence/cent discount for any customer bringing in their own reusable cup across the region. The company is also re-introducing its 5 pence/cent paper cup surcharge in the U.K. and Germany to encourage reusable usage with funds being directed to environmental charities addressing global waste issues. This re-introduction is compounded by Starbucks stores in Switzerland and Czech Republic also introducing a paper cup charge over the coming weeks.

Customer Barriers to Reusability:

In 2019, the company commissioned environmental and behavioural experts, Hubbub to do a U.K. study on the factors that contributed to customers not using a reusable cup. Key findings include:

  • 36% of people don’t use a reusable cup every time they buy a hot drink because they must remember them every time they go out.
  • Despite 69% of people owning a reusable cup, only 17% use them every time they buy a hot drink.
  • 27% of people would be embarrassed to ask a store to put a hot drink in their own cup.

Trewin Restorick, CEO, Hubbub said:

“It is massively encouraging to see the steps that Starbucks is taking which makes it as easy as possible for people to choose a reusable cup. The company has run reuse trials to understand what incentivises customers to act and pioneered different pricing mechanisms. Building on this expertise, they have set out bold plans, using their scale and influence, to chart a new way forward that could change the entire industry.”

Starbucks Path Towards Increased Reuse:  

Starbucks stores in Europe, Middle East and Africa have been on a journey to decreasing the number of single use paper cups that leave its stores.  Key activities include:

  • 1998, 2002, 2004 - Upon opening in each market, Starbucks stores in the U.K., Germany and France offer a discount on beverages served in a reusable and ceramic cup to customers.
  • July 2018 - Starbucks voluntarily introduces the 5p charge on single use plastic cups to all stores within the U.K., working with environmental and behavioural change experts, Hubbub.
  • April 2019 - Starbucks and Hubbub launch the 1m Cup Fund, the U.K.’s largest grant fund offering grants of £50,000 - £100,000 to bolster and scale up cup recycling.
  • April 2019 - Starbucks conducts the first ever airport reusable cup trial at London’s Gatwick Airport to drive consumer behaviour around reusables.
  • August 2020 - Within the U.K., Starbucks EMEA is one of the first large scale coffee houses to bring back the use of personal cups with a completely contactless process to address health and safety concerns of the transmission of the COVID-19 virus.
  • May 2020 - Starbucks U.K. collaborates with Circular&Co to produce 20K reusable cups out of paper cup waste supporting the development of a circular economy. The Cornwall based company was able to move production from China to a specialist manufacturing facility in Perranporth – creating 11 new high-skilled jobs for the region.
  • December 2020 - Starbucks stores across EMEA eliminate all plastic straws and introduce the strawless lid, removing the need for a straw altogether for our iced beverages.
  • June 2021 - Starbucks collaboration with Circular&Co producing reusable cups from paper cup waste expands to offer the merchandise across the rest of its 43 countries in EMEA.

Starbucks Global Environmental Ambitions: 

In January 2020, Starbucks launched its new sustainability strategy to set the company on a path to a resource-positive future. This means Starbucks aims to store more carbon than it emits, eliminate waste, and provide more clean water than we use. Its 2030 goals include:

  • 50% reduction in carbon emissions
  • 50% reduction of water usage through conservation or replenishment of water used for direct operations and coffee production
  • 50% reduction in waste sent to landfills

For more information, please contact a member of the Starbucks® press team at [email protected].