Starbucks Brings Back Its Personal Reusable Cup Program with a Contactless Update

The initiative benefits the environment and is a hit with customers.

June 22, 2021

Photo by: Photo courtesy of Starbucks

Photo courtesy of Starbucks

Starbucks is kicking off the start of summer by bringing back one of its most popular programs. The coffee giant recently announced that beginning on June 22, its personal reusable cup initiative is officially back in action across company operated stores in the U.S.

The program, which allows Starbucks customers to enjoy beverages from their own reusable cups or mugs, as opposed to the single-use paper or plastic cups found in stores, was suspended last year due to safety concerns related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to the pandemic, 80 percent of Starbucks beverages were enjoyed on the go.

Starbucks initially launched this campaign as one part of its ongoing commitment to reduce single-use cup waste and goal to reduce waste by 50 percent by 2030, and the brand will continue to encourage a reduction in waste by once again offering customers a 10 cent discount on their beverage of choice when they use a reusable cup.

However, in light of the recent health crisis, there will also be some notable changes made to the program to ensure that everything is as safe and clean as possible. In fact, Starbucks has even gone so far as to develop a completely contactless, new method that eliminates any shared touch points between customers and Starbucks baristas.

The Seattle-based company held extensive trials and has adopted this new process, using a ceramic mug to transport the reusable cup through the bar, in EMEA and Asia Pacific to reintroduce reusable cups with confidence. Basically, you keep your lid and place your cup in a mug. The barista then holds the mug (not your cup) while the drink is being prepared and poured, and then slides the mug back to you so you can retrieve your cup.

Per this new protocol, only clean cups will be accepted, and baristas will not be permitted to clean cups for customers. While Starbucks is currently testing safe options for allowing personal reusable cups via the drive thru, for now personal reusable cups will only be accepted in stores.

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