starbucks cup

I’ll Have My Honey Oatmilk Latte to Go. In a Rent-a-Cup. Starbucks Gets Sustainable

The java giant rolls out a rentable, reusable cup pilot programme in Tokyo.

The aim? To reduce plastic waste.

Starbucks is testing the new scheme in 10 stores in the Japanese capital city. Customers can “rent” a reusable stainless steel cup instead of the usual single-use one. In this way, the beverage brand hopes to halve its plastic waste generation by 2030.


Cleanwater Action statistics show that coffee giant Starbucks is responsible for 8000 paper cups being discarded every minute. Now, coffee-lovers simply need to download an app, then scan a QR code on pick up and return at any participating store. The free, reusable tumblers are cleaned then returned to service. Starbucks hopes the ease of the process will make customers choose the sustainable option. In a press release, a Starbucks spokesperson commented, “The service will be free to customers through the initial trial period, and makes choosing reusables as convenient as customers expect from Starbucks.”

Starbucks Strategy

Starbucks piloted a similar scheme in 5 Seattle stores earlier this year. The plan is to extend the pilot across Japan. The initiative is part of a wider Starbucks Japan strategy to reduce waste, water usage, and minimise its carbon footprint. A brand new “Greener Store,” located in the Tokyo Imperial Palace gardens, opens for business tomorrow.  The first of its kind outside of the US, the store has been designed to generate 40% less waste, 30% fewer carbon emissions, and consume 20% less water than other Starbucks locations in Japan. The interior is also focused on sustainability. For example, the floor tiles are made from coffee grounds and the furniture is refurbished. Plus, all store artwork is made from repurposed materials. Additionally, cleaning stations are powered by renewable energy, and a unique water circulation system recycles over 98% of handwashing water. 

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