Should Starbucks only allow reusable cups? | The Tylt

Should Starbucks only allow reusable cups?

Starbucks made a splash in 2018 when it announced it would be getting rid of plastic straws by 2020, but what about its single-use paper cups? According to CNN, Starbucks served 3.85 billion paper cups for hot beverages in 2017. The biggest coffee chain in the world could spark a huge domino effect by only allowing reusable cups in stores. But the chain has spent the last 30 years looking for a solution, and some say it will be impossible to fully make the switch. What do you think?

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Believe it or not, the current Starbucks cup is already engineered with sustainability in mind. CNN's Danielle Wiener-Bronner describes the cup as "close to perfect" when it comes to engineering alone, and the cups can be recycled. The problem is getting people to actually do the recycling after ordering their venti soy-two-pumps-no-foam beverage. 

Plus, many recycling facilities don't go forward with recycling the paper-plastic cups:

Most facilities don’t recycle paper cups because to do so, they would have to separate the cups’ plastic lining from the paper. Many recyclers find that process to be more trouble than it’s worth.

Starbucks has described this as a systemic issue, but the chain is hopeful that it can reach a solution by making recycling easier in stores, rather than changing the cup itself:

Still, the company has set high standards for itself. “We won’t consider our cups universally recyclable until our customers can recycle them in our stores, at their homes and workplaces, and in public spaces,” the company said in its 2010 global responsibility report.
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Starbucks' paper cups are made with 10 percent recycled material, so there's plenty of room for improvement. In all fairness, the chain is searching for a viable solution. Wiener-Bronner reports that Starbucks has held three Cup Summits between 2009 and 2011, looking to everyone from experts at MIT to amateurs. 

One particular summit, the NextGen Cup Challenge brought in 480 entries:

The winning designs also include three reusable cup systems. One, called CupClub, has already been piloted in London. The service puts RFID chips in cups, so they can be tracked and then picked up from drop points to be cleaned and reused.

Imagine walking into Starbucks, making your order, receiving a reusable cup, and going on your way. The only difference would be dropping your empty cup off in a Starbucks bin instead of a trashcan. 

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During the 2018 holiday season, Starbucks gave away reusable cups to a select number of customers. People were so excited that Starbuck's limited supply seemed to disappear almost instantaneously on the day of their release. Plus, if you bring your own reusable cup to any Starbucks, you'll be offered a 10 percent discount on your beverage.

Starbucks is already accommodating customers who are willing to change their behavior and those who aren't. CNN reports: 

But if paper cups have an infrastructure problem, reusables have a behavioral one. Starbucks has called reusable cups “the greenest option of all,” but over the last 30 years, it has struggled to get a significant number of customers to embrace the idea.

Starbucks is the largest coffee chain worldwide. It can't possibly expect its entire customer base to change at the same pace, but it is doing what it can to serve those who are willing to change their habits. 

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But some people feel that since Starbucks wields so much power, if the chain switched to reusable cups, customers would have no choice but to follow its lead, as would other international food chains. 

FINAL RESULTS
Culture
Should Starbucks only allow reusable cups?
A festive crown for the winner
#ReusableIsTheFuture
#KeepTheCups