Starbucks trials new returnable cup programs

  • Designed to make it as easy to use a reusable cup as it is to opt for single use, Starbucks hopes its new returnable cup program will redefine the reusable experience as we know it .
  • The program has so far been trialled in four EMEA cities - Canary Wharf (UK), Geneva (Switzerland) and Paris (France). All pilots have now concluded.
  • Program forms part of Starbucks long-term commitment to reduce waste by 50 percent by 2030 and become a resource positive company.
  • Cologne (Germany) will be the fourth city in Europe to pilot Starbucks new returnable cup program.
  • Starbucks is also eliminating single-use cups in our Seattle Support Center’s Starbucks café

Starbucks begins the first EMEA pilots of its new returnable cup program - allowing customers to opt for a reusable in the same way they would a single use cup.  

Without needing to remember to bring their own cup, customers can ask for their beverage to be served in a reusable cup when ordering at the till. Simply put down a £1 deposit when ordering, which will be fully refunded when the cup is returned. The cups will then be professionally cleaned and sanitised before further reuse. All customers opting for a returnable cup will also receive Starbucks usual 25p reusable discount. 

Starbucks new returnable cup program aims to break down existing barriers preventing greater reusable uptake by building reusables into people’s daily lives. According to a UK study, over a third (36 percent) of people don’t use a reusable cup every time they buy a hot drink because they simply forget their cup.  

Over the next two months, Starbucks is testing and trialing its new program with busy Londoners in Canary Wharf, UK, Geneva, Switzerland, and Paris, France drawing on learnings from its previous UK pilot at travel hub destination, Gatwick Airport. Ultimately, the goal is to have a reusable solution in all 4,000+ Starbucks stores in Europe, Middle East and Africa by 2025.

Duncan Moir, President, Starbucks EMEA said: “As part of Starbucks commitment to promote reusability and reduce waste to become resource positive, we’re excited to begin implementing the first EMEA trials of Starbucks returnable cup program in EMEA.  
“Our returnable cup program allows customers to opt for a reusable in the same way they would a single use cup, breaking down barriers preventing greater reusable uptake and putting convenience front and centre to enable customers to easily transition away from single use and make reusability the only option, long-term." 

This program also builds on progress from Starbucks global reusable cup pilot programs in Seattle, Seoul, Singapore, Tokyo and London, and has been designed to work seamlessly for Starbucks partners (employees) to avoid creating additional work.

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From Seed to Cup