Starbucks coffee cups are some of the most recognizable items in the world. And while the company is extremely proud of that fact, they also acknowledge that the cups represent a throwaway society.
For those unaware, this is a society that is full of excessive consumption that results in a waste of materials. In this case, the cup is the wasted material. Only being used a single time makes it and many other cups an environmental problem.
That’s why Starbucks is testing out the Borrow-A-Cup Program.
What Is the Borrow-A-Cup Program?
Starbucks lovers were probably already aware they could bring their own cups to their favorite coffee shop.
The main problem is when you forget your cup at home. The Borrow-A-Cup program fixes this by allowing customers to make a small cash deposit to borrow a cup from the store. The customer is free to take the cup and leave.
The idea is that since they left a deposit, they will return the cup when it is convenient for them. Currently, the company is testing twenty different variations of this program in different markets.
This will help the company pick the best one for a global release. One that is convenient for customers, but also safe for employees.
Of course, with Covid-19 still around, there are health concerns. In fact, the company actually had to stop accepting personal cups during the beginning of the pandemic.
Obviously, this concern will go away in the future as the pandemic comes to an end.
Starbucks is Still Comitted to Personal Coffee Cups
Of course, while you can borrow a cup, you still have the option of using your own, but it’s tough for the company.
Since the pandemic began, using the drive-through or ordering ahead on a mobile app accounted for 70% of the chain’s business. And when customers want to use their own cup, well, that just slows everything down.
The barista needs to collect the cup and then make the drink, thus it kind of undermines the entire point of ordering ahead. That’s why some stores are actually testing out a program where a customer can drop off multiple cups that the store can use when they order in advance.
The problem is the storage of the cup and the amount of extra work it places on employees who need to keep track of a customer’s personal cup.
In any event, the chain is dedicating resources to figure out the best solution to the problem.
Why Not Just Focus on Recylables?
One question that may come to mind is why wouldn’t the company focus more on recycling?
Well, the truth is that people are just really bad at recycling. You can give a customer a fully recyclable item, and they will dump it in the trash just like anything else. And honestly, that’s if you are lucky.
There’s a pretty good chance it will just end up on the side of the road or in the ocean.
Using reusable cups is far more sustainable than even using 100% recyclables. Of course, some fear that if the cup deposit is too small, many may just borrow the cup and throw it out, so again, it’s really up to the individual.
Robert has been following and writing about environmental stories for years at GreenGeeks. He believes that highlighting environmentally friendly practices can help promote change in every household.