Starbucks Latest California Borrow A Cup Test Furthers Company’s Shift Toward Reusables 

Three empty reusable Starbucks cups in different sizes, on a table in a Starbucks cafe

Furthering their resource-positive commitments, Starbucks launched a reusable cup test in 12 Starbucks stores in Napa and Petaluma, California today. From August 14 through October 22, customers at participating stores will be able to bring their own personal cup in café or drive-thru, be offered a Borrow A Cup from Starbucks, or choose For Here Ware, a reusable ceramic or glass cup for customers who opt to sit and stay in café.

Animated image of hand dropping reusable cup into green collection bin and cup springing back up in a loop
Starbucks and TURN return bins which can be found at participating stores in Napa and Petaluma with instructions for customers to return their Borrow A Cup.

Starbucks teamed up with TURN Systems for the test, using their high-tech collection bins to understand cup return behavior. Customers who bring in their own clean personal cup will receive the standard $0.10 off with an additional 25 Bonus Stars for Starbucks Rewards members.* When a customer returns a borrowed cup, they also have the option to register online with TURN for a chance to win a prize.** 

“Our latest round of reusables tests around the world contribute to our goal for all customer packaging to be reusable, recyclable, or compostable in the future. We know our partners and customers care about the planet, and we’re proud to offer them ways to join us in in making sustainable choices in their everyday lives,” said Amelia Landers, vp, Business Strategy, Partner & Customer Solutions.

Where Starbucks has been conducting reusable cup tests and launched reusable programs around the world. 

Reusables tests help drive progress toward Starbucks commitment to reduce waste sent to landfill. Starbucks is committed to cutting their waste footprint in half by 2030 and recently updated their target to include a commitment for all customer packaging to be reusable, recyclable, or compostable. 

Starbucks has conducted reusables tests in more than 25 markets around the world with more planned in the year ahead. The test in California is the latest Starbucks test in U.S. with additional reusables tests completed in Colorado and ongoing in Arizona.  The SODO 8 store inside Starbucks Seattle headquarters has been serving 100% of beverages in reusable cups since March 2022.

Starbucks district manager Tonya Palacios and her fellow partners holding up their personal cups.

“These types of tests are extremely important so that the company can understand all the different ways we can make an impact and move towards goals that we have set for the future,” said Tonya Palacios, Starbucks district manager, who leads the stores conducting the test. Tonya is also a Starbucks College Achievement Plan graduate, currently pursuing a master's degree in Sustainability Leadership. “I’m optimistic that we will execute the test at a high level and gather lots of feedback that will influence the next step in reusable cups and our sustainability goals.” 

Innovation Inspired by Partners

A customer at a store on ASU Campus places their cup in a personal cup washer. 

Choosing reusables is a new habit for many customers. Starbucks’ behavioral science-based research shows ease and convenience are foundational. Personal cup washers were developed in partnership with our store partners in the Starbucks Tryer Innovation Lab and created to ensure convenience for customers bringing their own cup. In participating stores across Arizona State University campus, customers can wash their personal cup or a returned Borrow A Cup right at the counter in the time it takes to complete their order.  

Since May, Starbucks has been conducting a 100% reusables test at participating ASU campus stores and every customer who brings in their own personal reusable cup or reuse a Borrow A Cup from a previous visit can receive a $1 discount on their beverage order. Customers can also return their Borrow A Cup to special return bins around campus that were designed by the ASU Circular Living Lab using the equivalent of 1,350 repurposed single-use cups.

A Borrow A Cup being washed in a personal cup washer at a store participating in the ASU reusable cup test. (Photo: Connor Surdi)

Bringing customers a reusables experience on the go

A customer in Colorado hands their personal cup off to their barista in drive-thru by placing it in a contactless vessel. (Photo: Connor Surdi)

With the majority of Starbucks beverages enjoyed on the go, the company continues to test and learn how to best provide customers the option to shift toward reusables. Customers across Colorado can now bring their own personal cup in drive-thru, the result of a successful personal cup test run from April to June, and they will receive a $0.10 discount on their order and 25 Bonus Stars for Starbucks Rewards members.

A customer in Colorado receives their beverage in a personal cup back from their barista. (Photo: Connor Surdi)

Starting in 2024, customers in all Starbucks Stores across the U.S. and Canada will be able to bring their personal cup wherever they order, including in café, drive-thru or mobile order and pay.

*Valid at participating stores on in-store beverage purchases only (max 3x per day).

**NO PURCHASE IS NECESSARY TO PLAY OR WIN. Participation constitutes the participant's full and unconditional agreement to and acceptance of these Official Rules ( Open to legal residents of California at the time of Game Play who are at least 18. The Turn Reusable Cup Instant Win Game (“Game”) begins on August 14th, 2023, and ends on October 22, 2023. Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received. Total Prize ARV: $200,000.  The Game is sponsored by TURN Systems Corporation (“Sponsor”).