Starbucks addressed sustainability issues in a three-part release Tuesday that targets reusable cups to the transportation options its customers use when making a coffee run.
By next year, Starbucks customers will be able to use their own personal reusable cups across the U.S. and Canada, including in cafés, drive-thrus and when opting for mobile order and pay. Starbucks sells 4 million coffee drinks globally per day. The chain logs 60 million customers each week, but that’s tracking coffee drinkers and those who purchase food and merchandise.
The company has conducted tests across the U.S. to see how coffee drinkers respond to financial incentives and deterrents, like a 10-cent fee for single-use cups and a 50-cent discount for a reusable mug.
The goal by 2025 is to give customers easy access to a personal or Starbucks-provided reusable cup for every visit. The coffee chain SBUX predicts a time when 100 million customers per week all stick to a reusable cup. A borrowed cup replaces up to 30 disposable cups, according to the company.
Single-use cups account for 20% of the company’s waste globally, but its on-the-go format attractive to most customers has meant an uphill battle for a complete switch to reusable cups. The company uses roughly 7 billion disposable cups every year. Add in disposable lids, and the cup-lid combo is 40% of company waste.
Starbucks is also planning to try out new cup-washing stations in cafes in O’ahu, Hawaii, and on Arizona State University’s campus, but wants to expand its use.
Starbucks has already tested borrow-a-cup programs in Japan, Singapore and London. In South Korea, the retailer has already pledged to discontinue single-use cups entirely by 2025.
The latest round of sustainable efforts doesn’t stop there.
In a pilot program beginning this summer, Starbucks and Volvo will create a route from the Colorado Rockies to the Starbucks support center in Seattle with Volvo electric vehicle chargers, powered by ChargePoint
available at up to 15 Starbucks “Greener Stores” along the way.
“We know infrastructure is the primary reason customers hesitate or decide not to purchase an electric vehicle. Imagine a future where you can fuel your body and car at Starbucks,” the company said in a release.
Market tracker LMC Automotive expects EVs to make up 34.2% of new U.S. vehicle sales by 2030, with all-electric at 30.1% and plug-in gas/electric hybrids at 4.1%. Sales of EVs, including plug-in hybrids, were only about 4% of total U.S. vehicle sales in 2021. Still, that marked a doubling from just a year earlier.
By 2030, Starbucks hopes to lead the retail industry in decarbonization efforts, including EV charging and onsite solar availability at stores and in adjacent locations, it has said. The company previously set a goal to cut its waste and carbon emissions from direct operations in half by 2030. It eventually wants to be resource positive, sending excess power back to the electric grid, for instance.
“We have a bold long-term sustainability vision and ambitious goals for 2030,” said Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson.
Also Tuesday, Starbucks launched a waste and recycling app to help its baristas and other staff navigate what have become increasingly complex, confusing and varying recycling guidelines by city. Wider-spread use of the app for customers could come, but for now, it’s meant for Starbucks employees, who actually developed the app.
“Putting items in the correct bin has a huge impact on diverting waste from the landfil — imagine scanning a single-use item and knowing exactly how and where to sustainably dispose of it?” Starbucks said in its release.