Starbucks partners with local businesses to encourage reuse

Today, Starbucks and long-term UK charity partner Hubbub unveil the winners of their £1.4 million Bring It Back Fund, aiming to build and develop innovative new solutions and systems for sustainable packaging in the food and beverage industry.

The fund, initially set at £1 million, was increased to £1.4 million following a competitive application process, which has now seen six winners from across the UK chosen to trial innovative new projects to encourage reuse.

From all-female tech start-ups to electronic tagging, to doorstep packaging collection, the Bring It Back Fund will help activate six innovative reuse trials in areas all across the UK - from city-wide schemes in the English capital to the first ever pilots in rural Scotland.

In each pilot project, people will be encouraged to change their habits towards using alternatives to single-use packaging through behaviour-change incentives, research projects, new technology, the expansion of existing successful reuse systems, or the development of entirely new service models.

Alex Rayner, General Manager at Starbucks UK, comments: “We’ve introduced an array of different reusable activations over the years to test and trial new ways to encourage reuse. Our latest work with Hubbub, the Bring It Back Fund, builds on our reusables work, aiming to find new ways to inspire people and our customers to choose to reuse. It is important for us as a company that we continue to drive industry-wide innovation, as we work to increase reusability and inspire greater reusables uptake in local communities across the UK. This forms part of our long-term goal to reduce waste and become a resource-positive company.”

From female-tech start-ups to food packaging systems to environmental charities, here’s a round-up of the UK winners:

Green Street

Using the returnable coffee cups and food packaging system in Bradford, local cafes and restaurants will be partnered with Bread + Roses and My Lahore, and the digital rewards platform  Maybe* will be used to motivate consumers to move forward with their purchases.

Keep Scotland Beautiful

Together with North Coast 500, Zero Waste Scotland, and Highland Good Food Partnership, this environmental charity will test an innovative reusable cup deposit scheme for the first time in Scotland.


The company runs a network of its own packaging cleaning facilities (called 'CleanCells'). They will test how localised doorstep at-home collection of reusable packaging can increase the uptake of reuse systems and improve convenience in collaboration with meal delivery platforms and restaurant chains. The trial will take place in the heart of London.

Reath Technology

This female-founded technology company will develop ‘next generation’ reuse tracking software as well as a customisable footprint calculator to demonstrate how reuse performs commercially and environmentally, based on their existing reuse and RFID technology.

Peterborough Environment City Trust (PECT)

This local environmental charity will research perceptions and barriers around reusable packaging, run behaviour change trials to increase reuse in local communities.


This reuse-as-a-service startup is partnering with food market Mercato Metropolitano in South London to test how to eliminate single-use food packaging at the market by making reuse the default option for customers, price competitive for traders, and operationally simple for all parties by connecting logistics and washing support.

The fund is supported by Starbucks pioneering 5p cup charge which is applied when a customer chooses to use a single-use paper cup. Introduced voluntarily in 2018, Starbucks has given Hubbub all proceeds to help with on the ground social and environmental activations to create stronger, greener communities.

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