Say Goodbye to Starbucks’s Disposable Cups—They'll Soon Be Phased Out

Starbucks's disposable cups have become a contributor to a serious environmental issue. So, when will Starbucks say goodbye to its disposable cups?

Jennifer Farrington - Author

Mar. 16 2022, Published 11:35 a.m. ET

Starbucks disposable cup
Source: Starbucks (Facebook)

If there’s one thing we can depend on Starbucks for, it's the ability to make our mornings (and afternoons) a little sweeter. For decades, Starbucks has been delivering delicious coffee in its iconic cups, which make sipping on a beverage that much more enjoyable.

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While the world's largest coffeehouse chain’s signature disposable cups have certainly helped raise brand awareness, they've also contributed to a serious environmental issue. So, when will Starbucks say goodbye to its disposable cups, and what will the company replace them with?

Starbucks plans to phase out its disposable cups by 2025

starbucks phasing out cups
Source: Starbucks (Facebook)

In an effort to become a company that “gives back more than it takes from the planet,” Starbucks has made the bold decision to phase out its disposable cups, the company announced on March 15, 2022. Because Starbucks’s iconic plastic and paper cups are, well...disposable, they either end up on the streets, adding to the existing litter and landfills.

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Not only does this contribute to the large amount of waste already being produced by other companies, but it also reflects badly on the brand. Rather than allowing the issue to worsen, Starbucks is ready to tackle it head-on—and it will start by reducing its waste.

The coffeehouse chain has set a goal of cutting down its waste by 50 percent by 2030. It hopes that by getting rid of its single-use cups, it will be able to achieve this and reduce its carbon footprint. Starbucks plans to phase out all of its disposable cups, both paper and plastic, by 2025.

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Starbucks will be replacing its iconic disposable cups with reusable mugs

By 2025, the coffee chain giant hopes to be using reusable mugs or cups to hold its beverages. In addition to encouraging customers to bring their own mugs, Starbucks will be implementing the “Borrow-A-Cup” program, which allows customers to borrow a reusable cup from the coffeehouse. It isn’t yet clear whether Starbucks will be attaching a fee to the borrowed cups.

Get your mugs ready: you may be able to start using them at your local Starbucks

To help Starbucks reach its goal of cutting down waste, some locations in the U.S., the U.K, Japan, and Singapore have begun testing out the “Borrow-A-Cup” program. Additionally, some locations are encouraging customers to bring their own mugs.

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Source: Starbucks (Facebook)
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Whereas Starbucks’s initiative is certainly a good one (our planet clearly needs help), it does give rise to some concerns. These include:

  • Will the coffeehouse chain keep its pricing the same?
  • What if my mug is smaller than the traditional size? Will I be charged less in this case?
  • Will I be responsible for replacing a lost mug borrowed from Starbucks?

As Starbucks develops and implements its plan to eliminate its signature disposable cups, it will likely update the public on its progress via Twitter or its Stores & News website.


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