The Reusable Cup–

In March 2022 Starbucks unveiled a plan to continue reducing the use of single-use cups: I say “continue” because pre-pandemic reusable cups, and incentives for using reusable cups, were already in place. That being said, Starbucks has encountered challenges, and continues to do so, as they attempt to increase sustainability.

It is is interesting that in a world and culture that lauds sustainability, picking the most sustainable coffee cup option has proven difficult. Starbucks never reached their initial benchmark goal, but in all fairness reusable things were a hard sell if not outright banned due to the pandemic. Some of their troubles were out of their control.

Starbucks–to be clear–needs to, and understand they need to, go beyond just making reusable cups available, or providing a 10 cent discount to encourage people to act more sustainably.

I wonder if the reusable cup were plain, and did not have the logo, and it was mandatory in-house, would that help?

If Starbucks remove the branding, not only would the company save on added print and design costs, but it would remove the sentiments associated with carrying around the brand. There is something about holding name-brand (whatever) for many people, including Starbucks fans . . . but is Starbucks willing to go *that far*.

Are they willing to trade-in something normal, like a plain green cup, and just focus on being sustainable? It would demonstrate true commitment to the cause . . .

Or, is branding of special-order reusable cups part of the marketing, and that marketing (and I assume those profits) more important, just as important, as being “sustainable”? Is Starbucks aware and afraid that people, if given the option, will choose, or naturally choose, their branded disposable cup?

In local and small business coffee shops, there are often no disposable cup options in-house. It makes sense: you’re staying here, why do you need a disposable cup? I always wondered what the cost-benefit analysis comparison was–after all, the reusable cup needs to be properly washed and stored–but if the goal is ditching the disposable cup, then why not make it a rule and routine to provide real cups for those dining in?

It is admirable that Starbucks has not given up; however, it is just as much about environmental concerns as it is about image concerns, if not more so–they have vested interests in this campaign, let’s be real here.

Regardless, as they play with options and ideas all over the world, I look forward to the ripple effect at other major coffee chains, and the new collection of reusable mugs I will carry with me to each 😉

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