Starbucks bringing back reusable cup service nationwide

Starbucks is reviving its personal reusable cup service more than a year after the coronavirus forced the coffee giant to pause it out of an abundance of caution. 

Starting June 22, all company-operated stores in the U.S. ​will reintroduce the service through a "completely contactless" method. 

Even though an increasing number of Americans are getting inoculated and shedding their masks, the company made sure to eliminate any shared touchpoints between the customers and its baristas for the service. 

According to Starbucks, after baristas check the cleanliness of the reusable cup, it will be placed in a ceramic mug or on a tray, ensuring that the barista never touches the personal cup. 

Starbucks reusable cup

Starbucks Sustainability Commitment Reusable Cups.

Like most companies, Starbucks had ramped up safety precautions at the onset of the pandemic – including eliminating the use of reusable cups on March 4. 

Now, it's easing the strict protocols as the world moves back to pre-pandemic life. Recently, the company followed a growing list of retailers in rolling back its mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated customers. 

In bringing back the reusable cup service, though, the company will be able to focus on its ongoing commitment of reducing plastic waste by 50% by 2030. This commitment also included phasing out plastic straws and replacing them with strawless lids or alternative-material straw options. 

As an incentive for customers to help Starbucks reach its goal, the company will continue to offer customers a 10 cent discount on beverages for using reusable cups.

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In the meantime, the company is continuing to research and test solutions to make its cups, lids, and straws easier to recycle and compost, according to Starbucks. 

It's an initiative the company is focused on worldwide. Earlier this month, Starbucks EMEA announced they will offer a reusable cup share program in all Europe, Middle East and Africa stores by 2025. By July, South Korea will follow suit in launching its Borrow a Cup program in-stores.