Amid public pressure to curb trash from disposable cups, Starbucks is rolling out a novel possible solution Thursday: a $1 reusable tumbler.
The Seattle-based coffee giant will start selling the plastic cups, bearing its logo and resembling the paper version, at all its company-owned stores in the USA and Canada in a bid to get customers to kick their throwaway habit. It will give a dime discount for each refill so the cup pays for itself after 10 uses.
The $1 tumbler is the latest effort to address criticism that food and beverage retailers need to reduce the amount of disposable cups and containers that ends up in landfills or litters streets and waterways. Thousands of people have signed petitions on Change.org, a website promoting social change, urging companies to promote reusable options and abandon polystyrene foam packaging, which is rarely recycled.
McDonald’s began testing a paper cup at some of its stores last year and Dunkin’ Donuts plans to do the same this year, but neither requires its stores to offer a refill discount to customers with reusable tumblers. Jamba Juice, which plans to phase out foam cups this year, says it offers a dime discount to those bringing in clean reusable ones, but very few do so.
Starbucks’ Jim Hanna says the company, in addition to working with paper mills to get more of its disposable paper cups recycled, has long sold reusable tumblers but expects the low price of its new one will prompt change. He says its test-marketing in 600 Pacific Northwest stores boosted the number of reusable cups 26% in those stores last November, compared with the same month a year earlier.
[via USA Today]