If customers take the cup home, they can also take advantage of Starbucks’ partnership with Ridwell, a company that will pick up the reusable cups from your home. Each cup is then cleaned and sanitized and put back into the rotation for another customer to use.
The chain’s traditional, disposable hot cups are made of both plastic and paper, so they’re difficult to recycle. And while compostable cups could be a greener option, they have to be composted in an industrial facility. So reusable cups could be a more practical eco-friendly choice, although this approach can be hard to scale.
Starbucks launched a reusable cup trial at Gatwick Airport in London in 2019, a year after the company launched the NextGen Cup Challenge in collaboration with McDonald’s and other partners to rethink cup materials. Contestants ranging from amateurs to industrial design firms submitted proposals for cups made from mushrooms, rice husks, water lily pads, corn leaves and artificial spider silk.