Starting Thursday, Starbucks has begun implementing plans to introduce a $1 reusable plastic cup in several of its coffee shops in order to decrease the amount of waste it produces from their usual paper cups.
This comes after the coffee chain already started giving customers a discount of 10 cents every time they brought reusable cups in for refills.
The Seattle-based company also hopes to encourage customers into the habit of reusing and recycling by using these new plastic cups which look very much like their traditional paper cups as they are the same color and bear their logo. Before reusing these plastic cups, they would be washed with boiling water, as is done with other reusable cups.
After being tested in the Pacific Northwest in about 600 stores some months ago, these cups are scheduled to go into wide use throughout the US and Canada. This move was in response to criticisms about how much disposable cups have become so common and their detrimental effects on the environment as waste materials.
Starbucks’ director of environmental affairs, Jim Hanna, informed USA Today that the company also aims to improve its recycling of paper cups. He stated that during the test run of the cups in the Pacific Northwest, people were generally not worried by having to bring a reusable cup, stating that it wasn’t “a burden for people to buy two or three”.
The made-in-China plastic cups have lines imprinted on them to indicate the sizes available, that is, Venti, grande and tall. In a report, USA Today also stated that more and more people are signing the petitions on Change.org to make large companies such as Starbucks turn to using more environmentally-friendly materials.
With their coffee cups in particular being hard to recycle due to their plastic like interior coating, the company set a goal to have about 25% of all drinks served in reusable cups come 2015, or, in other words, use 1 billion reusable cups a year. Sadly, that goal has now been cut to 5%.