Reusable cups: Starbucks links sustainability with innovation.

Photo source: Starbucks

Reusable cups: Starbucks links sustainability with innovation.

Thomas Reiner | 27.05.2022

Starbucks has committed to reducing its waste by 50 percent by 2030. To achieve this goal, the coffeehouse chain is increasingly relying on reusable cups. As part of the “Returnable Cup Program,” for example, customers in selected cities can optionally buy their beverage in a deposit returnable cup. Starbucks is going one (clever) step further with its newly launched Forget-Me-Not Frappuccino. The new flavor is available exclusively in returnable cups. The approach of linking sustainability with innovation is consistent – and further proof of how significant the reusable approach has already become.


For the launch of its new flavor combination of orange and vanilla flavors called Forget-Me-Not Frappuccino Blended Beverage, Starbucks is using packaging to put an exclamation point on the trend. The new flavor comes exclusively in a reusable cup, including a reusable straw. It is also the first beverage to be delivered as a reusable variant through Starbucks Delivers. The promotion for the new seasonal beverage is taking place in parts of the EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) region.


Two reusable options

There are two reusable options for customers. Option one: They opt for the new, special Forget-Me-Not Frappuccino® beverage cup, which is already included in the beverage price. Option two: You bring your own reusable cup and receive a Starbucks reusable discount of 30 cents. The discount applies accordingly for each additional use of the Forget-Me-Not cup.


Starbucks reusable cups

Cups account for 20 percent of Starbucks’ global waste. But above all, according to the company, it is a symbol of the throwaway society. So it’s only logical that Starbucks is addressing this site.

According to the company, the new reusable cups it has developed have a low environmental footprint, are made of lightweight polypropylene, are ultimately recyclable and could replace 100 disposable cups.


Returnable Cup Program

The launch of the Forget-Me-Not reusable cup coincides with the testing of the Returnable Cup program in select cities such as London and Geneva. The test is expected to pave the way for rollout across all 4,000-plus Starbucks stores in EMEA by 2025.

Under the program, female customers can order their drink in a deposit returnable cup. The deposit is refunded upon return. The reusable cups are subsequently checked for damage, professionally cleaned and disinfected before being returned to the cycle.


Reusable as a savior

Starbucks’ new reusable cup offering is part of the brand’s commitment to reduce its waste by 50% by 2030.

The coffeehouse chain is betting on reusable as one of the industry’s most vital trends. More and more brands and retailers are embracing offerings with reusable containers and packaging. Still, the trend is just getting started. There is much more to come here.


Clever approach

That Starbucks is combining its new offering with a product innovation is clever and consistent. Sustainability meets innovation and reinforces each other. Especially in view of the symbolic value of the coffee-to-go cups, the packaging plays to its strengths as an ambassador for brand and product.

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