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Starbucks To Resume 'Own Cup' Program In US Later This Month

by Rudy Sanchez on 06/09/2021 | 1 Minute Read

International coffee chain Starbucks announced that it will once again accept and refill customers’ cups and tumblers at its company-run US locations starting June 22nd. 

The coffee giant suspended the program globally last year as part of its COVID-19 response. By reinstating the “own cup” program, they will continue to provide guests with a small discount when they forego a disposable paper or plastic cup, at least in markets where the threat of the pandemic has waned.

As a sign that pre-pandemic normalcy hasn’t quite returned, Starbucks has modified the refill program out of caution. Whereas store staff would previously give guests’ drinkware a quick rinse if dirty, employees—partners in Starbucks speak—will no longer physically touch the reusable cups. Instead, the outside vessel will now reside inside a separate coffee mug until it gets handed off to the customer. The option will only be available in-store and not for drive-thru orders. Additionally, where possible, Starbucks will also restart serving "for here" food and beverages in ceramic mugs, cold drink tumblers, and plates.

Before the suspension of the “own cup” program, Starbucks had been exploring and trialing sustainable alternatives to single-use drinkware, including plans to introduce a cup-share program in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa locations and the elimination of all single-use cups in South Korea by 2025.