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Starbucks Plans to Ditch Disposable Cups by 2025

The company is testing out a new sustainability initiative with reusable cups.

Starbucks aims to reduce paper cup usage by 2025.
Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Image

Starbucks has promoted non-dairy milk and eliminated plastic straws in efforts to reduce its carbon footprint, and now the company is eyeing another way to make its operations greener. The coffee chain has unveiled plans to make reusable cups its standard. 

By 2025, Starbucks wants its customers worldwide to use a "personal or Starbucks-provided reusable cup for every visit," the company said Tuesday in a statement. This is coming even sooner -- by 2024 -- in the US and Canada.

After pausing the use of reusable cups at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company reintroduced the practice in summer 2021 with contactless procedures in place. Starbucks is currently testing several options for reusable cups that will enable customers to grab their eco-friendly cup of joe in-store, at the drive-thru or via mobile order. 

One of its pilot programs, called "Borrow a Cup," is designed to put a Starbucks-branded reusable cup in customers' hands with the intention that they return it to the store to be professionally cleaned. The cups are then put back into the rotation for other customers. Another initiative completely removes disposable cups and instead relies on personal cups, reusables or a Starbucks cup for in-house use only. The company noted that its test run in South Korea prevented 200,000 cups from hitting landfills in the program's first three months. 

To get customers on board, Starbucks is also trying out incentives, including discounts, promotions and washing stations. Ultimately, the company states that its 2025 goal is to create a "cultural movement" for reusables.