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Starbucks Is Getting Rid of Its Iconic Cups

Soon, the ubiquitous green-and-white vessels will be a thing of the past.


Starbucks customers who have come to know and love the company's trademark green-and-white paper and plastic cups will soon have to adapt to a new era of caffeine consumption — one that hinges on the coffee chain's sustainability goals. By 2025, CNN reports, the company aims to make it seamless for customers to use their own mug or borrow a mug from their local Starbucks.

Starbucks's chief sustainability officer Michael Kobori told the news outlet that there's more to the brand's instantly recognizable cups than might meet the eye, saying, "Our cup is ubiquitous, and we love that. But it is also this ubiquitous symbol of a throwaway society." The cups are single-use, after all, and most people have probably encountered them in places they shouldn't be, like on the side of the road or in a lake.

Related: How Starbucks CEO Transformed a Small Coffee Bean Store Into a Massively Successful Worldwide Brand

But despite many people denouncing the disposable nature of the cups (and the vast quantity unleashed into the world each day), most customers are creatures of habit and won't make the switch to greener, reusable options unless incentivized to do so. That's why Starbucks is planning to introduce a widespread borrow-a-cup program, which will require customers to pay a deposit for a durable cup they can take on the go — then return after use. Additionally, the company wants to incentivize customers bringing their own cups (a program that was halted during the height of the pandemic over contamination concerns). With the personal-cup model, Starbucks will likely roll out a higher rewards component as well — from 10 cents to 50 cents.

Customer adoption aside, the reusable cups could prove a significant logistical challenge during the morning rush, when baristas have to keep up with the high demand of often-complex custom orders. But the Seattle-centered chain has a plan for that too, one that may include early cup dropoffs within the drive-thru process and/or pre-made drinks that can be transferred into personal tumblers.

Starbucks Corporation was up 4.33% as of 10:08 a.m. EST.

Related: You Can't Buy a Starbucks Franchise: Here's Why and What You Can Do Instead

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