Starbucks is changing its cups

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The chain announced Thursday that the plastic cups for all sizes of its cold drinks have undergone an environmentally friendly redesign that uses up to 20% less plastic compared to the current version.
The redesign is the company’s latest effort to reduce the environmental impacts from its cups, which have been criticized for piling up waste.
The new cups were developed internally at Starbucks as part of its ongoing sustainability efforts to reduce its waste and carbon output in half by 2030.
In addition to using less plastic for the cups themselves — Starbucks projects the new cups will save more than 13.5 million pounds of plastic going to landfills annually — it is “projected to reduce emissions and conserve water in the production process,” the chain said.
Starbucks said it conducted tests with baristas and customers to ensure the changeover doesn’t reduce the cups’ sturdiness or ability to keep drinks cold.
Sustainability struggles Cups — and the waste they create — have long been a major issue for Starbucks.
Still, these tests and changes aren’t enough to solve the “plastic crisis,” according to Emma Priestland, global corporate campaigns coordinator for Break Free from Plastic.
Priestland suggests that Starbucks develop reusable and returnable on-the-go cups to help them fully achieve their sustainability goals.


Although it might not look all that different the next time you order an iced coffee from Starbucks, there has been a significant change.

The restaurant chain made the announcement on Thursday that all of its cold drink sizes now come in plastic cups that are environmentally friendly and use up to 20% less plastic than they did before. Redesigned cups have been criticized for accumulating waste; this is the company’s latest attempt to lessen the environmental impact of its product.

The company’s continuous sustainability initiatives to cut waste and carbon emissions in half by 2030 included the internal development of the new cups. The chain, like many other big businesses, wants to reduce its reliance on plastic because most of the material is made of polymers derived from hazardous fossil fuels.

The new cups will make their debut this year at a few locations in the US and Canada, with the full rollout anticipated to be finished by spring 2025.

The new cups are “planned to reduce emissions and conserve water in the production process,” according to Starbucks, in addition to requiring less plastic for the cups themselves. The company estimates that the new cups will save more than 130.5 million pounds of plastic from ending up in landfills annually.

Starbucks claimed to have tested the new design with both customers and baristas to make sure it wouldn’t compromise the cups’ durability or capacity to maintain cold beverages.

New accessibility elements have been added, such as black and white “fill lines” that provide contrast against light and dark drink colors. These are minor design adjustments.

Another modification is that the lids for tall, grande, and venti cups are now the same size; previously, the tall cup had its own lid and the grande and venti cups shared it.

That will reduce clutter and save employees time when looking for the right lid. Additionally, Starbucks claimed that by adding embossed letters to the bottom of the cup, “baristas can quickly confirm what size they’re grabbing during a busy rush when all the cups are stacked upside down.”. “.

Starbucks says it will continue to use a different size lid for its largest trenta size, which holds 31 ounces.

Sustainability faces challenges.

Starbucks has long struggled with cups and the waste they produce.

The chain added the ability to place drive-thru and app orders in January, broadening the options for customers to fill their own cups with drinks.

A program called “borrow-a-cup” was one of Starbucks’ other eco-friendly initiatives. Customers pay a deposit for a sturdy cup that they can keep and return after using it.

Customers paid a $1 deposit at a test location in Seattle in 2021, and in order to receive their dollar back, they had to return the recyclable cup to a smart bin inside the store. Similar pilot projects have been tested by the company in Singapore, Japan, and the UK.

However, Emma Priestland, global corporate campaigns coordinator for Break Free from Plastic, asserts that these tests and modifications are insufficient to address the “plastic crisis.”.

“While reducing plastic production is urgently needed to protect the climate, it is a false solution from the standpoint of waste management and the amount of plastic pollution entering the environment to reduce plastic consumption while maintaining the same number of plastic items,” she told CNN.

Priestland proposes that in order to completely meet their sustainability targets, Starbucks should create reusable and returnable on-the-go cups.

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