For years, Starbucks has offered customers who bring in their own to-go mugs a discount. However, as coronavirus safety restrictions continue to complicate day-to-day business operations around the world, one wonders if Starbucks will still fill a reusable cup?
Will Starbucks fill a reusable cup?
Before the global pandemic caused by COVID-19 hit, Starbucks had offered customers a unique discount for bringing in their own mugs into the store. The idea was that by making beverages in the owner’s personal cups, Starbucks could both reduce waste and offer environmentally-conscious folks 10-cent discounts on their orders.
Once the pandemic hit, however, Starbucks decided to switch tactics. According to Business Insider, the coffee giant suspended the practice nearly as soon as lockdowns began. Even once stores opened back up, single-use cups became the norm once more. However, it seems that the lifting restrictions in some places have allowed for some creative ways to bring back an eco-friendly favorite.
How does Starbucks fill a reusable cup during COVID-19?
According to Starbucks Stories, the practice of filling reusable cups is being reintroduced in many Starbucks locations across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA). This renewed practice has undergone rigorous testing in order to make it completely contactless and therefore much safer during these uncertain times. The discount will still apply to all those who opt for a reusable cup refill.
The new process involves the use of a ceramic mug to transport the reusable cup through the bar, which eliminates all shared touchpoints between the customer and barista. In this way, Starbucks hopes to continue reducing paper and plastic waste in their locations, despite everything that’s going on. The process for EMEA locations is outlined on the Starbucks website as follows:
The barista checks the cup for cleanliness and asks the cup’s owner to retain the lid until the process is completed.
The reusable cup is placed in the ceramic mug and pulled across the bar by the barista.
The beverage is made in a completely contact free manner.
The carrying mug and beverage is brought to the hand-off, where the customer can pick up their beverage.
The beverage is taken, the lid is replaced, and the customer can go on their way.
Will Starbucks fill a reusable cup in the U.S. or Canada?
According to Starbucks, the situation concerning COVID-19 “remains fluid.” While the company appears to be taking all CDC-related precautions in terms of cleanliness and minimized touch points of contact, there is still no word about when the process will be reinstated in the U.S. or Canada. Many Starbucks locations are still operating only drive-thru and delivery options, so it’s hard to say when such a rollout might be possible.
However, it couldn't hurt to ask the barista at your local Starbucks if they would use your cup.