Home Business News Starbucks trials new ‘returnable cup’ you can borrow for as long as you like, and return anytime

Starbucks trials new ‘returnable cup’ you can borrow for as long as you like, and return anytime

21st Feb 22 12:15 pm

Today, in Canary Wharf, London, Starbucks launches its returnable cup program – allowing customers to opt for a reusable in the same way they would a single use cup.

Without needing to remember to bring their own cup, customers can ask for their beverage to be served in a reusable cup when ordering at the till. Simply put down a £1 deposit when ordering, which will be fully refunded when the cup is returned. The cups will then be professionally cleaned and sanitised before further reuse. All customers opting for a returnable cup will also receive Starbucks usual 25p reusable discount.

Starbucks new returnable cup program aims to break down existing barriers preventing greater reusable uptake by building reusables into people’s daily lives. According to a 2019 UK study by environmental charity Hubbub, over a third (36 percent) of people don’t use a reusable cup every time they buy a hot drink because they simply forget their cup.

Over the next two months, Starbucks will test and trial its new program with busy Londoners in Canary Wharf, as well as an entire European city (Geneva), drawing on learnings from its previous UK pilot at travel hub destination, Gatwick Airport. Ultimately, the goal is to have a reusables solution in all 4,000 Starbucks stores in Europe, Middle East and Africa by 2025.

Duncan Moir, President, Starbucks EMEA said, “As part of Starbucks commitment to promote reusability and reduce waste to become resource positive, we’re excited to begin implementing the first EMEA trials of Starbucks returnable cup program in EMEA.

“Our returnable cup program allows customers to opt for a reusable in the same way they would a single use cup, breaking down barriers preventing greater reusable uptake and putting convenience front and centre to enable customers to easily transition away from single use and make reusability the only option, long-term.”

Hubbub said, “This program is an exciting opportunity to test a simple, seamless reusable cup solution in several different urban environments across Europe.

“Our research shows that a high proportion of customers have a reusable cup, but often don’t remember to bring them into store. The Starbucks returnable cup program overcomes this barrier. If Starbucks can successfully connect and increase engagement between customers and reusables, this program will set a blueprint that can be implemented at scale.”

The returnable cup program will address the learnings from Starbucks previous UK trial at Gatwick Airport in 2019 with partner Hubbub, which found that customers are either ‘sippers’ or ‘on-the-go’ coffee drinkers. ‘Sippers’ want to sit and enjoy their cup of coffee and are happy to return their cup while remaining in store throughout. However, ‘on-the-go’ drinkers are much harder to engage because they require greater convenience and are much less likely to return their cup if it requires going out of their way.

This program also builds on progress from Starbucks global reusable cup pilot programs in Seattle and Singapore, and has been designed to work seamlessly for Starbucks partners (employees) to avoid creating additional work.

Starbucks UK stores participating in the Canary Wharf trial include four cafes in Canada Square, Jubilee Place, Churchill Place and South Collonade/DLR, as well as Beckton Gateway Retail Park Drive-Thru. To find the nearest participating store and opening hours, please check Starbucks Store Locator.

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