Starbucks has taken a step forward in its goal to reduce waste by 50 percent by the year 2030, offering customers in the U.S. and Canada the option to use clean personal cups for all orders, whether they are made via the Starbucks app (known as mobile orders), in the drive-thru, or inside the cafe.
The announcement signals a return to some sense of normalcy after Starbucks announced in March 2020 that it would halt the use of personal cups altogether due to COVID-19 safety concerns, per CNN. In June 2021, the company announced it reintroduced personal cups for in-store use in its U.S. stores, per Starbucks Stories & News.
Here's everything you need to know about the announcement, and how to use your own cup at Starbucks locations in the U.S. and Canada.
Starbucks customers can now use reusable cups for drive-thru and mobile orders.
Beginning Jan. 3, 2024, Starbucks is permitting customers at participating licensed stores across the U.S. and Canada to use clean, personal cups up to three times per day when placing a mobile order via the Starbucks app, in the drive-thru, and inside the cafe, according to press materials Starbucks shared with Green Matters.
A $0.10 discount will be applied to the transaction, and customers in the U.S. only will receive 25 Bonus Stars if they are Starbucks Rewards members.
Per the New York Post, the discount for the use of a personal cup will not apply to orders via third-party applications like DoorDash. The cup does not need to be a Starbucks-branded cup, however, and Starbucks Stories & News confirms that baristas are not permitted to clean a customer's dirty or used cup for them.
There is no word yet on which licensed stores in the U.S. and Canada are participating. We recommend prospective customers contact their local store to find out before ordering.
"Bringing your own cup to stores is a critical step toward reducing single-use packaging waste. Starbucks is a leader in this work, as the first national retailer of scale to offer personal cup ordering in every channel, including mobile order,” stated Kate Daly of the Center for the Circular Economy at Closed Loop Partners, which works with Starbucks on these efforts.
Here's how to use your own reusable cup for Starbucks mobile and drive-thru orders.
Before placing your order, it is helpful to know the logistics to ensure an experience as smooth as an oat milk latte in the winter time.
Starbucks Stories & News confirms that all Starbucks drink order sizes and formats (e.g. hot, iced, or blended) are eligible for the personal cup order and discount.
When placing a mobile order via the Starbucks app, select the “Personal Cup” option under the "Customization” menu. After placing the order, give the barista your cup without the lid at the mobile order pickup area.
The barista will then give the filled personal cup back to you in a wider contactless container.
If the drive-thru is more your style, let the barista know you intend to use a personal cup when you place your order. When you drive up to the main window, you'll place your personal cup in a contactless container for the barista to fill the drink, which is how they'll then return your filled personal cup back to you.
If placing a to-go order in-store, inform the barista you intend to use your own personal cup when you place your order. Starbucks has not indicated that a contactless container will be used for in-store orders.
If placing an order in-store and you intend to sit and stay for a while, you can also request your drink be made in a ceramic mug or glass cup, though this is only available at certain locations.
Starbucks is obviously far from an overall environmentally-friendly brand; plus, some individuals are currently boycotting the corporation due to a number of controversies. But still, this move is bringing a huge company closer to circularity, and it’s worth talking about.
This article has been updated.