Starbucks introduces $1 reusable cup to cut down on waste
January 3rd, 2013
01:45 PM ET
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Starting Thursday, Starbucks customers will have the option to save their planet - and their wallets - a dime at a time. The coffee giant is offering $1 plastic cups, which can be reused for drink purchases at a discount of ten cents.

Jim Hanna, the director of environmental affairs at Starbucks, told USA Today that while the company has sold reusable tumblers for some time and offered the ten cent discount, he expects that the modest price of its new one, available at company-owned stores in the U.S. and Canada, will encourage consumers to take action more frequently. The new effort comes largely in response to consumer criticism over the volume of paper coffee cup waste - approximately 4 billion cups globally each year - generated by Starbucks.

The responsibility section of Starbucks' website details the company's efforts to work with vendors and local authorities to get more of its paper cups recycled, and to host recurring "Cup Summits" collaborating on the issue with industry leaders from MIT, Tim Horton’s, Georgia-Pacific and Action Carting Environmental Services. By 2015, Starbucks plans to have front-of-store recycling in all its company-owned locations.

According to a 2011 report issued by Starbucks, that year, customers used personal tumblers more than 34 million times - nearly 2% of all beverages served in global company-owned stores. While this represented a 55% increase in personal tumbler use from 2008's tally, Starbucks admitted to challenges in tracking cup use both in and away from their stores, and reduced the company's goal of 25% reusable cups by 2015 to 5%.

The reusable cups are made in China, and have fill lines inside denoting "tall," "grande" and "venti"-sized drinks. The cups will be rinsed with boiling water by Starbucks employees before they're refilled, reducing the risk of cross-contamination, but at least one more challenge remains: will customers actually remember to bring them into the store?



soundoff (552 Responses)
  1. Forteaneye

    Why do foolish people spend so much money for really bad coffee? If you purchased five per week you would average $25.00 a week, $100 per month, $1200 per year. And this is on the low end of the spectrum.

    January 3, 2013 at 11:01 am |
    • a

      I'm not a big fan of starbucks and prefer frequenting local mom and pop shops in my neighborhood. That being said, it's only that expensive and BAD if you buy the sugary kind of coffee. Stick with regular coffee (the price is pretty much the same anywhere). Also, yes I brew coffee at home, but if I relied on that it would be cold by the time I got to work.

      January 3, 2013 at 11:20 am |
      • spf35

        Not if you buy a thermos mug. Got one and it keeps my coffee hot all day.

        January 3, 2013 at 11:23 am |
    • LR

      I support my local, independent coffee houses, so I don't mind splurging every once in a while. I certainly don't make it a daily habit, though.

      January 3, 2013 at 11:30 am |
    • swart

      Forteaneye – i spend $1.80 per day on a cup of starbucks coffee. it's only the fancy drinks that are $4 range. and it's great coffee – but i suppose very different to the McCafe coffee you like!

      January 3, 2013 at 11:32 am |
      • spf35

        I don't consider bitter battery acid like brown stank water great coffee.

        January 3, 2013 at 11:53 am |
    • Ztom

      I pay $2 for my coffee at Starbucks (Grande size). If I went Venti (largest), that would be about $2.15 per coffee.

      Maybe you are talking about frapuccinos and lattes.

      January 3, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
  2. PevanB

    I would do it if they offered more then 10 cents. The cups they serve now I am sure cost more than that.

    January 3, 2013 at 10:56 am |
    • SAM

      Totally agree. Ten cents is a ridiculous 'savings'. Not even close to being enough to motivate me.

      January 3, 2013 at 11:29 am |
  3. kburgoyne

    It's amazing what people will find to complain about. Can't we recognize Starbacks for at least making an effort? Is McDonald's doing this with their McCafe drinks? Is Jack in the Box doing this? Is Taco Bell doing this? I rather suspect McDonald's accounts for more waste than Starbucks. I don't mean that as an attack on McDonald's. McDonald's made an excellent effort many years back to reduce their use of styrofoam. There are corporations who do a lot of nasty things. We should at least thank corporations when they try to make moves in the socially responsible direction.

    January 3, 2013 at 10:50 am |
    • spf35

      It doesn't sound responsible. It sounds like a ploy to get people in under the guise of saving the planet. Ohh and we will even give you a whole 10 cents off the coffee. C'mon.

      January 3, 2013 at 11:22 am |
      • Ztom

        You can already bring in your own cup and get 10 cents off. Many do. I have for 2 + years. You don't have to buy the Starbucks one.

        If this gets some people to start doing it because of a silly promotion, I don't see a problem.

        January 3, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
    • ingrid

      agree

      January 3, 2013 at 11:23 am |
    • SteveDave

      meh...playing off the fears of the stupid is not socially responsible. But think whatever you want, I guess.

      January 3, 2013 at 12:08 pm |
    • John in WNY

      It's because American consumers have become a bunch of whiney, self entitled snobs who think no one can ever do enough for them.

      January 3, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
  4. Sam

    They'd be all over my car growing stuff. the thought sounds good but to actually bring a clean plastic cup to starbucks to save 10 cents isn't going to happen for us. I'd just have a car full of starbucks plastic cups. lol gross but I am sure I'd find a cup or 3 under my seats every week.

    January 3, 2013 at 10:45 am |
  5. dougster

    So I'm going to pay a dollar more for my drink and get a cup I'd have to use at least 10 times before I broke even on that one drink. And have to wash and dry after each use. And remember to have it with me. Sounds like another way for SB to make some extra B.

    January 3, 2013 at 10:40 am |
  6. erzhik

    Who the hell is going to carry his/her own cup to Starbucks? What's next? Carry your own mattress to hotel?

    January 3, 2013 at 10:39 am |
    • Big Mark

      Yes. That is the logical next step.

      January 3, 2013 at 10:42 am |
    • Jim in PA

      As bedbugs spread to more and more hotels, your crazy example starts to sound less crazy.

      January 3, 2013 at 10:43 am |
  7. Linda

    Starbucks is hardly trying to save the planet. The Starbucks I go to (Southwest Austin) doesn't even recycle its own HUGE amount of plastic milk jugs, cartons, or anything else. When I asked about this, one of the managers told me they can't recycle because the owner of the property/complex doesn't offer recycling (as much as I can remember). That seemed a pretty amazing response given that the store is in Austin. So much for being "green".

    January 3, 2013 at 10:39 am |
    • Jim in PA

      Nothing prevents the store from sorting anyway, and taking the bags to a recycle center themselves. Oh wait, one thing is stopping them; the willingness to exert actual effort instead of lip service.

      January 3, 2013 at 10:42 am |
    • Brian

      I work at Starbucks and we only recycle cardboard. We used to recycle the plastic milk jugs, but management told us that the empty jugs attract fruit flies.

      January 3, 2013 at 11:18 am |
      • ingrid

        Huuh??....Seriously?.....wow and there are aLOT of Starbucks in the world...

        January 3, 2013 at 11:26 am |
  8. BNP

    A fold-able reusable cup. That's what's really needed. Something that can be slipped in a pocket or purse. Create that, and I think you will dramatically improve the odds of people remembering/bothering to bring them.

    January 3, 2013 at 10:38 am |
  9. sisterchef

    I had trouble remembering my reusable bags...until my store started charging .10 for every plastic bag they issued. Thanks Roxy's, for putting some of the responsibility where it belongs...on me.

    January 3, 2013 at 10:35 am |
  10. Scott S.

    it is very hypocritcial that Howard Schultz is such a proponent of job creation in the U.S., but then has all of Starbucks ceramic mugs, tumblers and now these re-usable plastic cups MADE IN CHINA. Something so simple can easily be made in the USA. I'd pay $2 for it instead of $1. But as long as it's MADE IN CHINA I WILL NOT BUY IT!

    January 3, 2013 at 10:30 am |
    • Jim in PA

      Same here.

      January 3, 2013 at 10:38 am |
    • Keith T. Maxwell

      Start turning over random items in your house.... You'll be amazed how many items from China (most likely including the computer you're using) there are. Coffee cups are the least of your worries.

      January 3, 2013 at 10:44 am |
    • Ztom

      They have other cups you can buy. I have one I bought at Starbucks. It says Made in USA.

      And I always get 10 cents off. In fact, you can bring in any coffee mug and you will get 10 cents off.

      Nobody is forcing these cups on you. You have lots of options to get your 10 cents off.

      January 3, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
  11. BrooklyNY

    They should also
    - offer re-usable mugs for people who stay "in" and return their mug before leaving
    - offer re-usable mugs for a $5-10 deposit (cost of mug) to refunded when/if mug is returned
    - allow people to use their own mugs (not originally bought @Starbucks)
    all of these should qualify for a discount equal to "cost" of disposable cup which should include buying/storing and disposing

    January 3, 2013 at 10:29 am |
    • Nari

      They have always given 10 c discount if you go in with your own reusable mug.. for several years now.

      January 3, 2013 at 10:46 am |
    • dy

      They already do – you can get any beverage in a "for here" mug. They will also refill your travel mug even if you didn't buy it there.

      January 3, 2013 at 10:47 am |
  12. DS

    No Thank you! A "plastic" cup made in "China"????? I regard my health as too important to put myself through many applications of chemicals and poison to save .10. I would rather bring my own glass cup from home.

    January 3, 2013 at 10:28 am |
    • Keith T. Maxwell

      Okay.... Enjoy a paper cup from China instead...

      January 3, 2013 at 10:46 am |
      • werd

        Paper cups are made in America.. By cutting down your trees, and using 1/4 cup of your clean water per cup, and release 1/4 pound of CO2 into your air. Yay!

        January 3, 2013 at 11:17 am |
  13. Bob Blyth

    I would like to see Starbucks be more proactive with using "for here" cups in their stores. It always seems like they are a little surprised when you ask for one. It is a little silly to see 20 people working on their laptops and drinking out of paper cups. I wonder how many cups would be saved if the just started asking "Would you like that for here?"

    January 3, 2013 at 10:25 am |
  14. lincoln douglas

    women: the ultimate single-use item.

    January 3, 2013 at 10:25 am |
  15. MMar

    I would do this not for the 10 cent discount but because it is good for the environment. Unfortunately if it is like my grocery shopping bags I will forget them at home 80% of the time. It is worth the effort and I will get mine for sure.

    January 3, 2013 at 10:22 am |
  16. amy

    I think it would be better for the planet if they stopped using the plastic lids and the plastic stir sticks. Those are much worse than the paper cups – at least the paper cups will disintegrate. While the plastic lids and stir sticks are technically recyclable, nobody actually recycles them so they go to the landfill where if we are lucky the are buried and if we are not, they get picked up by the wind and carried to streams and rivers and end up in the ocean. Ten minutes of useful life and an infinity in the landfill.......

    I don't understand why they cannot have wax paper lids like take-out soup containers have. It's not like NASA needs to design them, they already exist.

    January 3, 2013 at 10:20 am |
    • Jack

      Paper cups are OK because they "disintegrate" in the "landfill"? You're seriously missing the point!

      January 3, 2013 at 10:37 am |
      • amy

        Never said it was OK, did I? I said "at least." My point is that if you are going to focus on a problem, then the plastic one is much worse of one.

        January 3, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
    • kburgoyne

      Unfortunately nothing "disintegrates" in the landfills, although people are to be excused for thinking otherwise. Because of the linings they have to put on the landfills to stop all they nasty stuff from leaching into the ground water, etc, basically everything in the landfills mummifies and nothing really "disintegrates".

      January 3, 2013 at 10:43 am |
      • Keith T. Maxwell

        NOTHING decomposes in a landfill?? On the contrary... I live in a small Midwestern town. Our county's modest landfill is equipped with five power plants that run off of the methane produced by the landfill. They produce enough power for 35,000 homes. This methane is produced by the decomposition of the organic contents of the landfill.

        January 3, 2013 at 10:52 am |
      • Chris

        This is the most idiotic comment I have ever read! Wow!

        January 3, 2013 at 11:37 am |
      • amy

        How is it that all of you are so bent on "correcting" other people's posts that you miss the point entirely.

        You guys seriously must have nothing better to do.

        Why not focus on the point, which was (in case it seemed to complicated in the original post): get rid of the plastic lids and the stir sticks

        January 3, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
    • Ztom

      Agree on the plastic lids. But my Starbucks has only wooden stir sticks. You might ask your Starbucks why they don't use them.

      January 3, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
  17. Logic

    They now make bio-degradable packing peanuts, is it too much to make coffee cups out of a similar material?

    January 3, 2013 at 10:15 am |
    • Jim in PA

      Paper is biodegradable to begin with, so that's not the issue. By the way, the packing peanuts you are talking about are made from corn starch and usually dissolve rather quickly in water. Making a coffee cup from this material could pose a few problems. ;)

      January 3, 2013 at 10:22 am |
    • palintwit

      Hot coffee would instantly dissolve the cup in your hand. Then you could sue Starbuck's.

      January 3, 2013 at 10:24 am |
    • Alan

      Those peanuts break down with water, especially hot water, so that technology isn't applicable here.

      January 3, 2013 at 10:26 am |
    • Justin

      There are compostable coffee cups readily available that break down more rapidly or, ideally, can be deposited in a compost specific receptacle. It isn't complicated to set up such a regimen, you can find these bins at Whole Foods and even some smaller (read: locally owned) cafes. But the compost pickup service and compostable cups add more cost, so don't expect to see them at a Starbucks any time soon if ever.

      January 3, 2013 at 10:51 am |
  18. occasionalposter1

    Companies that offer minscule discounts are not serious and should be seen as such. 25 cents should be the starting point and that would make a few people think twice and would probably motivate them. 35 – 50 cents off would be a better motivator and make Starbucks look like they are serious.

    January 3, 2013 at 10:15 am |
  19. peaberryjo

    I make my own coffee, even when traveling.

    January 3, 2013 at 10:14 am |
    • Jim in PA

      Yeah, but do you make your own CUP?

      January 3, 2013 at 10:15 am |
      • werd

        I do.. Luckily I have a clay pit in the back yard, that mixed with some locally source cow patties, I can form a nice new cup or plate (or even fork) whenever I want. I even made a coffee maker, and my own coffee beans!! Yum!

        January 3, 2013 at 11:32 am |
  20. Cheri

    Good idea, it doesn't bother me that the discount is only 10 cents. Here in San Francisco, there is a bag charge of 10 cents if you don't have a bag. What does bother me is that the cups are plastic, (Hello BPA!) and they are made in China. Does the US make anything anymore? Are we too "above it all" to manufacture? I like the idea of carrying your own travel mug and having it cleansed prior to filling it up. I just don't like the idea that an American company chooses to manufacture outside of the US. Starbucks has so much influence, why don't they set an example?

    January 3, 2013 at 10:10 am |
    • Jim in PA

      There are TONS of plastics injection molders and fabricators here in the U.S. Starbucks obviously went with the lowest bidder, and awarded the contract to a Chinese plant that likely produces huge amounts of pollution and does not practice US-level industrial waste controls. Their decision to go with a Chinese supplier exposes this campaign as nothing more than a PR stunt with no emphasis on environmental issues.

      January 3, 2013 at 10:14 am |
    • Ztom

      For a $1 cup, they would pretty much be forced to go with China.

      I have a Starbucks coffee mug, and it is made in USA. But I paid more than $1 for it.

      January 3, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
  21. Jim in PA

    If the point of this campaign is environmental stewardship, then why are the new cups being made in a country (China) notorious for lax environmental laws? There is probably a hazardous waste pipe dumping out of the factory, straight into the nearest river.

    January 3, 2013 at 10:09 am |
  22. Dave

    'Made in China' is an immediate turn-off.

    January 3, 2013 at 10:09 am |
  23. bfpiercelk

    Only if you're a dumbass hipster lol

    January 3, 2013 at 10:08 am |
  24. TracySwingKid

    If coffee shops charged for disposable cups and stores charged for bags there would be a lot more incentive to bring in reusable items. Some of us bring our own cups and bags every time because eliminating single-use items from our daily life is the responsible thing to do. Charging for single-use instead of just rolling in the cost would help others make the effort. Another thought, what if stores had to pay for end of use disposal and passed that cost on to users? What about the cost when they end up in our environment? What was that plastic bag worth to you when it was accidentally eaten by a sea turtle and caused them to choke or starve? Bring your own reusable items.

    January 3, 2013 at 10:06 am |
  25. Daniel

    I only drink trenta tea at this place. They have not offered any sort of reusable cup for that size. It really makes me mad because I would be willing to use a reusable cup regardless of the savings.

    January 3, 2013 at 10:03 am |
    • amy

      "I only drink trenta tea at this place. They have not offered any sort of reusable cup for that size. It really makes me mad because I would be willing to use a reusable cup regardless of the savings."

      You can still bring your own cup can't you?

      January 3, 2013 at 10:15 am |
  26. this is stupid

    Great, so now let's waste water cleaning these cups??!

    January 3, 2013 at 10:00 am |
    • Owl96

      It takes some water to create the cup. If I have enough room to add the reusable cup in my dishwasher when I do my dinner dishes, then it takes no additional incremental water to clean it. Almost all of the time, I have the room.

      January 3, 2013 at 11:06 am |
  27. Al

    As a lot of people have pointed out above, it's just a marketing and PR move. If they really wanted to create change, they wouldn't offer disposable cups in their stores, you'd have to bring your own cup or mug. Of course they'd never do that because they only sell 2% of their drinks to customers coming in with a reusable container.

    January 3, 2013 at 9:58 am |
  28. Jim in PA

    This reminds me of the "green" initiative by many hotels where they try to convince you not to change your towels or sheets during your stay. A move which (as luck would have it) saves the hotel money.

    Odds are, the cost of Starbucks providing you with a new paper cup, lid, and cardboard insulating thingy is about one or two cents higher than the discount they are offering for using these new cups.

    January 3, 2013 at 9:57 am |
    • red

      The majority of "green" initiatives save money as a pleasant side effect. You use less resources, you become more energy efficient, of course you're going to save money. So even if you don't care whether we all have to go outside in gas masks in another 100 years, at least you should care about saving money.

      January 3, 2013 at 10:15 am |
      • Jim in PA

        Oh I engage in the green hotel initiatives, don't get me wrong. Nothing wrong with hanging up a towel to dry and reusing it the next day. I just refuse to give kudos to the hotel for "offering" these measures, since their motivation is so transparent.

        January 3, 2013 at 10:18 am |
        • Ztom

          The hotels I stay at give me 500 points for each day I go green (except checkout day, of course). Saves them money, I get points towards my next free stay, and it's better for the environment. Don't see much of a downside.

          January 3, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
  29. spf35

    Seriously though. A dime savings isn't going to get folks to use a reusable cup, if they wanted to use one, they would be already. Second, a dime off bitter nasty coffee means it's still overpriced bitter nasty coffee.

    January 3, 2013 at 9:54 am |
    • Jim in PA

      If saving a dime meant anything to Starbucks customers, then they wouldn't be Starbucks customers.

      January 3, 2013 at 9:59 am |
      • janetlaw

        Exactly! I only go once in a great while, and make my coffee at home now – especially since more times than not, the barristas were clueless as to how to make coffee – paying $1.65 for coffee grounds in the bottom of my cup is not a way to lure back customers.

        January 3, 2013 at 10:05 am |
  30. M

    Population control would prevent more waste and carbon emissions than anything else. Starbucks is in a prime position to pump the masses full of birth control.

    January 3, 2013 at 9:51 am |
  31. Michael

    I don't drink hot drinks from plastic cups. I would use a reusable cup if it was a ceramic cup.

    January 3, 2013 at 9:44 am |
    • CLT

      You can, and have been able to for a long time, bring your own cup. If you want ceramic, bring it. This just standardizes it for those who didn't consider it before.

      January 3, 2013 at 10:18 am |
  32. Anne P

    I thought Starbuck's was on a kick to bring have items manufactured in the USA! What's up with Chinese plastic cups?

    January 3, 2013 at 9:43 am |
    • Jim in PA

      LOL. Starbucks is obviously on a kick to have OTHER PEOPLE make the investment in America. The biggest shame of this is that there are plenty of plastics manufacturers in the US that could provide this product, but theirs was probably 3 cents more than the Chinese version.

      January 3, 2013 at 9:45 am |
    • Ztom

      They still are. I have cups from Starbucks. Made in USA – all of them.

      But if you want a cup for $1, I don't think USA can deliver. We have minimum wage and other silly laws.

      But overall, Starbucks does go USA if possible.

      January 3, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
  33. dwiltrav

    The bottom line is that trees are renewable and paper cups degrade and are more environmentally friendly than plastic. Go friendly with organic ink and you are doing earth a bigger favor.

    January 3, 2013 at 9:41 am |
    • Jim in PA

      Ceramic is probably the best, but it's a lousy material for a travel mug because it can break when dropped.

      January 3, 2013 at 9:43 am |
  34. david breuggers fan

    Breuggers Bagels does it right. Solid, metal cup for one large up-front fee good for entire year. All the coffee, hot tea, iced tea or soda that you want for the ENTIRE year at no extra charge at ANY of their locations... They also offer various food discounts for cup holders. If you drink a lot of coffee and are close to a Breuggers, this is the way to go...

    http://www.brueggers.com/bottomless-mug/

    January 3, 2013 at 9:40 am |
    • Jim in PA

      So once you've owned the mug for more than a year, do you need to buy a new one to renew the deal? If so, that is actually more, not less, wasteful. Hopefully you can just pay a fee to re-up for the following year.

      January 3, 2013 at 9:41 am |
    • Brueggers vs Starbacks

      There's not nearly as many Brueggers locations as Starbucks. Not even remotely close.

      January 3, 2013 at 10:02 am |
  35. bill

    problem w starbucks is that they broke the 2 dollar coffee rule. A cup of regular non fancy coffee should never cost more than 2 dollars considering it cost them 15 cents to make per cup. think about it. if you are like me and pay cash for coffee, any coffe that costs between 1.01 and 1.99 results in handing them 2 dollars and dropping the change in their change jar. Now anything over 2.01 will cost you 3 dollars unless you don't mind all that change. If you buy one of their cups, the coffee price should drop to below 2 dollars a cup. i know a lot of people who only drink regular coffee who stopped going to starbucks once their cofee went above 2 dollars.

    January 3, 2013 at 9:38 am |
    • steve

      There is no inflation. There is no inflation. There is no inflation. There is...... wait.

      January 3, 2013 at 9:45 am |
    • Ztom

      Get the card or the app. I use cash just to fill up the card. Plus the card/app gives you benefits, like 13th drink free, other discounts, free birthday drink, etc.

      January 3, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
  36. Jim in PA

    This may seem counterintuitive, but it seems to me that am extremely inexpensive cup ($1) is more likely to be discarded and treated as disposable than a slightly more expensive cup, limiting its advantage.

    January 3, 2013 at 9:37 am |
  37. phila1818

    Sounds to me like you need a poll option that says "I could always bring my own reusable metal mug, but I'm too lazy to bother. I'd rather just continue my thoughtless, wasteful ways. Besides, it's all about ME! A mere dime isn't enough to convince me to contribute to making our planet better for future generations."

    January 3, 2013 at 9:37 am |
    • bill

      i agree. most places who offer a discount for bringing in your own mug is about a 40 percent discount.

      January 3, 2013 at 9:49 am |
  38. Stefan

    If Starbucks is serious about this, they need to offer more than a 10 cent incentive. I doubt the cost on their end for a paper cup is under 10 cents – this looks like a profit driver to me, not social responsibility.

    January 3, 2013 at 9:36 am |
    • steve

      Wow- you are finally getting what "green" and "social responsibility" really mean to a company!

      January 3, 2013 at 9:46 am |
    • TinKnight

      Well, my company's office supplier provides similar paper cups & lids for right around 10 cents per cup, and we don't order it en masse or have any kind of special deals, because it's not a major function of the company.
      It makes logical sense that Starbucks would pay less than that for one of their primary supply chain costs.
      So, offering a 10 cent discount would likely be costing Starbucks a little bit more than it brings in.

      But, even if they pay more than 10 cents for the cup & lid, who says that being environmentally-responsible means you can't have a profit? That's the problem with FAR too many people: they think it's one or the other, which discourages companies from getting involved at all.
      Fact is, you as the consumer would be saving money (since the reusable cup would pay for itself in 10 drinks, or one week for many people). You would also be reducing your waste...10 cups in a week equals 520 cups in a year for one person. And finally, Starbucks would also be saving money and reducing their waste...if one-tenth of their customers went for this program, that would be 400 million fewer cups wasted, and $40 million less spent (if it were 10 cents apiece). Why can't both consumer and producer win?

      January 3, 2013 at 9:56 am |
    • Ztom

      Bring in your own cup. You'll get 10 cents off even if it was not purchased at Starbucks.

      But if you want to buy an official cup, that's your prerogative.

      January 3, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
  39. kent

    I've had one of the cold Starbucks tumblers. Because I go through the drive thru, they make my drink in one of their regular plastic cups anyway, pour it into mine, and throw the plastic one away. Dumb, but I guess thats the way they have to do it. So much for saving the world....

    January 3, 2013 at 9:33 am |
  40. ugh

    Hey guys and gals.... its not going to be like a solo cup or the plastic cups they give you with your frap. they are like the travel mugs you buy already.

    January 3, 2013 at 9:29 am |
  41. scott bleyle

    China put lead in the paint used for our kids toy's then poisoned our pet food which killed hundreds if not thousands of our beloved family members.Yeh,I want coffee in Chinese plastic!

    January 3, 2013 at 9:26 am |
    • Chi

      Or more generally, we are going to replace paper with plastic to save our environment? What a joke. Majority of these "reusable" plastic cups will sooner or later end up in our garbage and on their way into the ego system.
      We as a society must say NO to the pervasive overuse of plastic!!!

      January 3, 2013 at 9:51 am |
      • TinKnight

        People need to learn about the realities of the waste disposal system.

        First off, people talk about biodegradability and that paper cups will dissolve over time in landfills. This DOES NOT HAPPEN. Fact is, nearly all landfills are specifically designed to PREVENT biodegradation. They're packed too tightly and have too little dirt for the enzymes, organisms, and oxygen to have an effect. Studies have shown that 25-year-old hot dogs are still intact, as are 50-year-old newspapers that are completely readable.

        Second, paper cups can NOT be recycled in the vast majority of circumstances. They have biowaste, which prevents recycling, and they're not strong enough to be properly cleaned. Reusable cups, of the type Starbucks is selling, can be properly cleaned prior to disposal, so you could recycle them...furthermore, you'll be dramatically reducing the amount of landfill waste. One of these cups would replace 250-500 paper cups...that's BIG, when you extend it to all of the Starbucks customers.

        I really wish people would learn about how to properly help the environment before they go off half-informed and behaving in manners that are counterproductive.

        January 3, 2013 at 10:11 am |
  42. Pedro Gonzalez

    The root of the problem is not the retailer....its the consumer. And consumers do not care. If they did, they would be bringing their own cups already. Consumers want convenience and carrying a dirty cup around in your car or purse is not going to happen.

    January 3, 2013 at 9:25 am |
  43. spf35

    Wowwee. Save a dime off your drink. They need to do better than that to get folks to use a reusable cup. How about half price if you use the reusable cup.

    January 3, 2013 at 9:21 am |
    • Bill

      The modest 10 cent discount is why I don't bother. I wouldn't say they needed to halve the price, but bump it up to at least 75 cents, and I'd think about it.

      January 3, 2013 at 9:26 am |
    • Emma

      I totally agree! 10 cents, but half price that would make me remember my cup!

      January 3, 2013 at 9:28 am |
    • Jon

      Your obviously missing the point of this. It is a campaign to help conserve resources. People that care about this will participate. Plus, if you are buying your coffee at Starbucks and your worried about the cost – you probably shouldn't be buying your coffee at Starbucks.

      January 3, 2013 at 9:41 am |
    • TinKnight

      Nope, not gonna happen...at most, the paper cups & lids currently used cost about a dime (and that's for companies that don't use them on a major basis).
      No way is Starbucks going to take off half the cost of the coffee just to save themselves a dime or less.
      The cup itself is NOT the primary driver of coffee costs at Starbucks.

      January 3, 2013 at 10:14 am |
      • Bill

        The cost of the paper cup is not the point.

        If Starbucks wants to make themselves out to be an "environmentally friendly" company and to encourage customers to bring their cups, then they should provide more of a discount for doing so.

        "Breaking even" isn't performing a great service to anyone. This is why they only have ~1% participation in reusable cups.

        While I agree halving the price of the drink is a bit much, they can do more. At least a 50 cent discount would get them up toward 5% reusables, I would wager.

        January 4, 2013 at 1:19 am |
  44. frontporchcoffee

    How about this: When I go to Starbucks and want to drink the coffee there, they put the coffee in a REAL cup? I have had trouble getting anything other than a paper cup when I am going to sit down in the store. They could save quite a few paper cups by serving "to sit" coffee that way, yet I swear the last time I asked, they looked at me as if I was an alien and had to hunt up a *dusty* cup and rinse it out.

    This is one reason I seek out other coffee shops instead of Starbucks.

    January 3, 2013 at 9:19 am |
    • mdaneker

      Back when Starbucks was a real coffee shop you got a ceramic mug if you had your coffee there. They need to go back to that. These plastic cups will create MORE WASTE than the bio-degradable paper!!! People will pay the $1, then toss the cup when the keep forgetting to wash-return it. Nice idea, poor execution.

      January 3, 2013 at 9:26 am |
      • sw6blues

        http://mystarbucksidea.force.com/ Tell them.

        January 3, 2013 at 9:36 am |
      • TinKnight

        Biodegradable cups are a misnomer...because, in all American landfills (and most throughout the world), they are specifically designed to prevent biodegradability that could result in materials leeching into the groundwater supply.
        25-year-old hot dogs are still commonly found completely intact, and 50-year-old newspapers are completely readable.

        So, in a realistic sense, it doesn't matter if you throw away paper or plastic...both are going to take up the same space in the same landfill for an EXTREMELY long time.

        However, the reusable plastic can be cleaned and recycled, whereas the paper cups can NOT.

        Advantage: Reusable plastic cups.

        January 3, 2013 at 10:17 am |
    • kotenok

      Spot on.. Everywhere in Europe Starbucks actually serves coffee to stay in ceramic mugs. They should follow the same in the USA.

      January 3, 2013 at 9:54 am |
  45. Ludwig

    So their great plan to reduce waste is to sell us more crappy products? Are those cups BPA free? Starbucks should just give a discount for bringing your own cup. If the local coffee places I frequent can do it Starbucks certainly can. The residue from good coffee might even help out the burnt and bitter taste of Starbucks!

    January 3, 2013 at 9:19 am |
    • Bill

      Did you read the article? Starbucks does offer a 10 cent discount if you bring a cup.

      January 3, 2013 at 9:25 am |
    • Sassylassy

      The cups are BPA free. I work at a Starbucks and we do offer ceramic mugs to people who wish to stay in the cafe and drink there coffee. We also do ask if they want there coffee/ and or food for here or to go so that we can give them a real cup/plate/utensil instead of paper cup/paper bag. At some point the consumer is the one who should be held to some responsibility. At least the company is making an effort to cut down on waste. Also for others who are complaining that the discount for using your own cup is "only .10" why do you have to constantly be "rewarded" for doing the right thing. Perhaps you should feel good just knowing that you are helping the environment out.

      January 3, 2013 at 11:56 am |
      • Ztom

        Amen

        January 3, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
  46. Smarter than ewe

    Plastic? Probably not the best idea to put hot coffee in. As for helping with the planet, why not have stores stop asking you if you'd like plastic or paper and, like Costco, make you carry out the groceries with you own recycled, reusable bag. It's going to happen eventually. Think of the trillions of plastic bags that won't have to be made or the forests that won't be chopped down for the paper ones. And of course that troubling question, "paper or plastic".

    January 3, 2013 at 9:18 am |
  47. Joe

    other: Gave up Starbucks. Saves lots of dollars. On average you spend $3 on a venti cup of coffee or $5 on a latte of your choice. Lattes are 500 calories average of extra food you don't need.

    Instead I purchased 10 flavors of budget priced tea at $2 a box 12 bags a flavor, $5 for a budget priced sugar case, and that is zero calories. Buy a milk frother if you want latte based coffee for a cappucino and use any type of milk.

    January 3, 2013 at 9:17 am |
  48. Chris

    Why do they need to be plastic? I am not so sure I would want to drink a hot liquid in a container made from plastic. Especially plastic from China. What kind of chemicals would I be drinking. I think a good option would be to offer in house cups for those people drinking on site. That would be my suggestion. Why do people feel it necessary to walk around with a paper cup? It's tacky. Sit down and enjoy your expensive coffee with some friends. Relax.

    January 3, 2013 at 9:14 am |
    • SteveDave

      Maybe because the want to walk around, and don't want to be forced to sit there.

      January 3, 2013 at 9:16 am |
  49. SteveDave

    So a cup is going to "Save the Planet". Geez, how gullible does CNN think it's readers are?

    January 3, 2013 at 9:12 am |
  50. scott bleyle

    they could make the price of the cup $10 and the coffee $1.00 B.T.W. whats with the O.C.D. plastic/toxins issue

    January 3, 2013 at 9:12 am |
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