Starbucks brings recyclable cups to UK as reusable cups banned

·2 min read
A single use coffee cup inside a Starbucks in London, Britain, March 6, 2020. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
Starbucks will be replacing its single use coffee cups with a recyclable version at some of its London stores. (Henry Nicholls/Reuters)

Starbucks (SBUX) will be introducing recyclable and compostable coffee cups to the UK this week, fulfilling a promise made a year ago.

The new paper cup will be trialled at some of its London outlets for the next four weeks, as part of its efforts to become more environmentally friendly, the coffee shop giant said.

Earlier this year, the Starbucks announced plans to cut waste by 50% over the next 10 years and in March 2019 the company pledged that customers would be seeing new recyclable cups in its stores “over the next year”.

The new recyclable cups will look almost exactly the same as the company’s famous traditional single use cups but the plastic lining will be replaced with a biodegradable material.

The move comes as the coffee company banned customers from using their own reusable cups in its stores last week over concerns that they could contribute to the spread of coronavirus.

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Customers will still receive a 25p discount for bringing in their reusable cups, but will be given a disposable one instead, Starbucks said.

The recyclable cup trial is part of the NextGen Cup Challenge, an initiative by Starbucks and other international food brands, including KFC, Pizza Hut, Coca-Cola, and Nestle.

The NextGen Cup Challenge asked “industry experts and cup scientists” to design a new environmentally friendly cup. The group chose the final design out of hundreds of entries which will now be scaled up for market tests.

London is the only European city to be part of the global trial. The other locations are Seattle, San Francisco, New York in the US and Vancouver in Canada.

“It is with great intention that we move forward with highly collaborative and innovative work to bring both recyclable and compostable cups to scale around the world,” chief executive Kevin Johnson said in March 2019 as Starbucks promised to ditch single use cups.

“We are reimagining the future for Starbucks, and for the more than 30,000 communities we serve each day, with a great sense of responsibility for a more sustainable planet,” he said.