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TO ENCOURAGE reusability on Earth Day, and to inspire its customers to make more sustainable choices all year long, Starbucks yesterday launched reusable hot and cold cups in Thai stores.
The Bt150 reusable cup is now available at all its stores, as Starbucks aims to reduce its environmental footprint and positively impact the communities it serves. Customers will also receive a Bt10 discount for each purchase with a reusable cup, so the cup pays for itself after 15 uses.
The reusable cup is nearly identical to the Starbucks iconic white cup. It is made from polypropylene, which is specially designed to make the cup sturdier than paper.
Globally, an estimated 600 billion paper and plastic cups are distributed annually. Starbucks cups account for around 1 per cent of that total, and the restaurant says it is committed to bring more sustainable solutions to reduce waste. Since 2014, Starbucks has offered the reusable cup in the US, Canada and the UK, and has so far sold more than 25 million globally.
“We’ve seen an increase in public awareness and concern for the plastics waste issue in recent years. We’re proud to provide a reusable option in all Starbucks stores in Thailand without making sacrifices to our customers’ daily coffee ritual,” said Nednapa Srisamai, managing director of Starbucks Coffee (Thailand). “We’ll continue to work with all related parties to find solutions and encourage our customers to choose reusability whenever possible.”
Since beginning its business operations in Thailand in 1998, Starbucks has been encouraging customers to reuse their cups, and since 2013 has offered a Bt10 discount to those who purchase a beverage with their personal cups. Together, Starbucks and customers in Thailand have helped save more than 10 million single-use plastic and paper cups, according to a company press release.
In addition, Starbucks joined the US Green Building Council (USGBC) in 2001 and collaborated with them to develop the LEED for Retail programme, an effort to adapt LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) to new construction and commercial interiors and achieve “greener stores.” As of 2019, Starbucks is operating more than 1,500 LEED-certified stores in 20 countries. In line with the company’s global direction, Starbucks Thailand has committed to the initiative and achieved over 50 LEED -certified stores.
“We now look to the future of Greener Retail and aim to design, build, and operate 10,000 stores globally by 2025,” said Nednapa.
Earth Day is also a time to celebrate the company’s long-term global commitment to focus on sustainability. Last year, Starbucks committed US$10 million (Bt318 million) to develop a fully recyclable and compostable hot cup, in partnership with Closed Loop Partners, through the NextGen Cup Challenge, and recently announced plans to trial cup technologies in several markets worldwide over the next year.
The company is also working to phase out plastic straws from its more than 30,000 stores worldwide by 2020, eliminating more than 1 billion straws a year – a goal that was announced last July. Plastic straws will be replaced by a newly redesigned, lightweight recyclable strawless lid that will begin rolling out this summer to select cities. (Plastic straws will continue to be available upon request for Starbucks customers who need or request them.)