Starbucks is always innovating while still offering the same, basic service. Their coffee started off as an attempt to recreate the coffee culture of Milan, Italy in Seattle, WA. Today, it’s a gargantuan company that has built its own coffee culture, spreading it to every corner of the world.
One part of that culture was a fast-food approach to coffee — which gave caffeine junkies a cup of joe in a takeaway cup. That has led to Starbucks’ customers putting over four billion plastic and paper cups into the ecosystem every year. Starbucks is fully aware its customers throwing away takeaway cups and the problems around that. So, in England, they’re trying something new.
35 locations in London will start charging a 5p (about seven cents) surcharge for anyone using a takeaway cup instead of a reusable. This is a trial run for the company to gather information and see if customers will be moved by the slightly higher price to go reusable or simply accept the price hike.
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Starting today we'll be trialling a 5p cup charge in 35 stores across London to encourage use of reusables and help to reduce waste. We're still proud to offer 25p off any drink when you use a reusable cup and you can pick one up in store for £1. ♻️ #Reduce #Reuse #Recycle #ReusableCup
All of this comes after Starbucks attempted to get takeaway customers to switch over to reusables with discounts. According to the company’s announcement, they started offering a 10p (14 cents) discount for anyone using a reusable cup all the way back in 1998. That discount rose to 50p (about 75 cents) by 2014. The discount was coupled with a 1-pound ($1.50) reusable cup available for purchase in-store. Unfortunately, those discounts only changed the ratio of disposable takeaway cups to reusables by a measly 1.8 percent. Not exactly a win for anyone.
So, Starbucks is flipping the script and charging people for not picking a reusable cup. The money raised from the surcharge “will be donated to environmental charity and behaviour change experts, Hubbub,” the company’s press release states. They hope to use the money to find out how to get the public to accept reusable cups in the long term since discounts just weren’t enough.
Will it work? Will the masses revolt over a seven-cent price hike on their daily Starbucks run? Will reusable cups finally start gaining traction? We shall see. But, don’t be surprised if your local Starbucks starts charging you extra for that disposable takeaway cup sometime soon.